Mental health workers refuse overcrowding
PSA MEDIA RELEASE MARCH 14, 2002
Mental health workers refuse to accept overcrowding
The overcrowding in mental health units has forced PSA workers at Taharoto unit to notify the Waitemata District Health Board of their intention to take action over overcrowding, said Public Service Association national secretary, Richard Wagstaff.
“Taharoto staff coming on to shifts will not commence work unless staffing and patient numbers are safe. Instead, the existing staff will remain on duty until management rectify the situation.”
“The PSA is meeting with Waitemata Health tomorrow in an urgent bid to find a resolution. If that fails the action will begin in a week.”
“Our workers in mental health units believe that if the current overcrowding across the Auckland region is allowed to continue, the safety of staff and patients will be severely compromised. They refuse to allow this to happen.”
Richard Wagstaff said that workers in Tiaho Mai, Taharoto, and Te Atarau units are calling for both immediate assistance and a long-term solution to the severe lack of accommodation for mental health patients.
“Patients who need urgent assistance and cannot be admitted often end up in inappropriate and inadequate community housing, or, as happened last weekend, locked in police cells.”
Richard Wagstaff said a longer term solution has to be found and the PSA invites the Ministry of Health and the Auckland district health boards to join with us in finding one.