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Ringfence Protection Project

Ringfence Protection Project

The Ringfence Protection Project - a joint Mental Health Commission/Ministry of Health initiative - is part of an ongoing series of routine reviews of health providers' mental health services spending.

Director-General of Health, Dr Karen Poutasi, and Mental Health Commission chairperson Jan Dowland, said the review of six DHBs was designed to ensure that money tagged for mental health services is actually being spent where intended.

Similar reviews in previous years have looked at staffing levels and funding of mental health services.

Dr Poutasi and Ms Dowland both stress the importance of tagged funding. It's clear there are many pressures on DHBs and often it is challenging ensuring that money intended for one service actually gets spent in that service as shortages in skilled staff or services can limit the amount of investment in that area in any one particular year.

It is precisely because of these pressures that it is important that we check DHBs are managing these challenges as well as they can, and to provide good information to us so we can work with DHBs to resolve any issues that arise.

Neither the Ministry nor the Mental Health Commission are presuming the outcome of the review and both organisations are clear that the review is not intended to cast any shadow on staff working in mental health services.

The reviews are expected to be completed by early in the New Year. Over time all boards are likely to be reviewed.

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