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Mental Healthcare Set To Snap

Mental Healthcare Set To Snap

Monday 17 Mar 2003 Heather Roy Press Releases -- Health

ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today that it should come as no surprise that West Auckland's CATT West psychiatric crisis team is under huge pressure, and feels unable to respond adequately to those with mental illness.

"Other CATT teams around the country are experiencing similar problems, and vulnerable psychiatric patients are slipping through the cracks of a fragmented system," Mrs Roy said.

"The system is failing everyone, and it is only a matter of time until the next Mark Burton or Lachlan Jones case hits the headlines - highlighted by the Auckland CATT team's warnings that it is already counting down to the next mental health tragedy.

"The so-called politically correct push to treat patients in the community has gone too far. There are huge inadequacies in the framework, underlined by shortages in mental health beds.

"There are patients who are seen by community teams three times a day - if someone requires that level of care, surely they are in desperate need of treatment that can be best provided in an in-patient unit.

"In Wellington alone, three psychiatric patients released into the community have gone on to kill. This follows the July closure of Kenepuru Hospital's psychiatric ward. These incidents will not be the last.

This is a nationwide problem which will not improve Health Minister Annette King admits that the move to community care is flawed. She must provide for the safety of the mentally ill, their families and the larger community at large.

This problem will continue to deteriorate, until Ms King realises that psychiatric patients are not second-class citizens, and as deserving as any other member of the community of quality care," Mrs Roy said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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