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Minister needs to ensure quality of residential facilities

9 May 2013

Health Minister needs to ensure quality of residential facilities

Health Minister Tony Ryall needs to ensure that no other residential facilities are operating as poorly as Parklands was, Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said today.

According to Ministry of Health audit reports, obtained by the media, clients at Parklands, a residential facility in Pukekawa, lived in crowded, dirty conditions, were fed inadequate food, neglected by untrained staff, and provided with no meaningful activities.

The Ministry of Health has confirmed it will not investigate the lack of oversight regarding Parklands and Health Minister Tony Ryall also said there would not be an inquiry at ministerial level.

“Tony Ryall needs to understand that in the case of people with disabilities, especially intellectual disability, he and his Ministry have special duties and responsibilities that are central to his job as Minister and this inaction is a serious failing,” Mr Hague said.

“The Minister and Ministry’s response to this case shows a complete moral and ethical failure. There could be other facilities as bad as Parklands and an audit is needed to see what is going on.

“What happened at Parklands was appalling. People with intellectual disabilities are among the most vulnerable people in our society, and we need confidence that the health authorities have robust systems in place to ensure their safety.

“We need to know how it was possible that the terrible list of failings attributed to Parklands was able to continue for so long.

The Ministry has commissioned an "external assessment" to improve its provider.

"The external assessment is certainly better than nothing, but it smacks of exactly the kind of superficial, tick-box mentality that has led to the Parklands problems taking 12 years to be picked up, despite the Ministry's 'quality assurance' and complaints investigations processes," Mr Hague said

“Tony Ryall needs to step in and tell the Ministry of Health to revisit their decision to avoid any proper investigation into how this situation eventuated.

“There also needs to be an overhaul of the Ministry of Health’s processes to make sure such a situation is not repeated,” said Mr Hague.

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