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Paralysis By Analysis

Paralysis By Analysis

If Health Minister Annette King is not prepared to take action in her own electorate, after the recent suicide attempt of a Wellington mental patient, then what hope is there for the rest of New Zealand, ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today.

"This latest inquiry is yet another in a long list of inquiries, trials, inquests and Royal Commissions that largely come to nothing - yet the Minister points to these and tries to claim that progress is being made," Mrs Roy said.

"How many more patients have to die, or be seriously injured, before Labour actually does something? The term `paralysis by analysis' springs to mind - which suits Labour just fine. Ms King is happy to let health professionals at the coalface take the fall, rather than admit that her policies are to blame.

"My enquiries, before the incident, found that Wellington Hospital's Te Whare-O-Matairangi (Ward 27) was functioning with eight patients more than its allocated numbers. This is not unusual - I have repeatedly drawn Ms King's attention to patients sleeping in lounges or corridors.

"This service is clearly functioning with too few beds - it has been this way since Te Whare-O-Rangatuhi closed in 2002. The Minister would not even acknowledge that the unit had closed, and that Wellington's adult in-patient units had been halved.

"The introduction of 20 recommendations from the last investigation, the Buckle inquiry, is nonsensical if rooms are being used for something they are not designed for - like lounges being used as bedrooms.

"The Minister consistently ignores the cracks in our mental health system. Meanwhile, many Wellington psychiatrists refuse to work in the in-patient unit because of the risks involved. If the Minister is not prepared to act in Wellington, then what hope is there for wider New Zealand?" Mrs Roy said.

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