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Openness needed on mental health patients

Openness needed on mental health patients

National is calling for more openness regarding the condition of mental health patients after another attack by a mental health patient in Auckland, on the people he was living with.

"The case of an Auckland couple being attacked by their boarder whom they didn't know had a mental illness is appalling.

"It is wrong that mental health workers had been visiting and keeping in contact with the patient but did not inform the people he was living with of his need to keep taking medication and his deteriorating condition.

"The boarder entered the couple's bedroom, then threw the man out of the house, locked himself inside, and at one stage held the woman in a headlock. It was only after they called the police and the man was referred to mental health workers that they learned he had a history of recurring mental illness and violence.

"This was a patient of Waitemata Health, the same board responsible for the treatment of mental health patient Lachlan Jones who murdered his flatmate Malcolm Beggs. "Carers and people that mental health patients are living with should be told about the condition of the patient. The public have some rights to know about a mental health patient, for the protection of both the patient and others.

"If any health board should know that this is necessary after the Malcolm Beggs case, it is Waitemata. We need assurances from the Minister that all boards have measures in place to prevent these types of cases.

"This family says they would have helped their boarder stay on his medication if they knew he was mentally ill, but instead they were put in a threatening situation and it is pure luck that they survived," Dr Scott says.

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