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Announcement cold comfort to psychiatrists

Minister’s announcement cold comfort to psychiatrists

Psychiatrists responded with dismay to the Health Minister’s announcement today to bring forward $2.8 million of next year’s funding allocation in order to deal with the crisis in Auckland mental health services and implored the Minister to re-examine her Government’s commitment to a properly funded and sustainable mental health service for New Zealand.

“Sadly, our worst fears about the outcome of the review of mental health services in Auckland and the response from the Minister have been realised,” Dr Alan Fraser, Deputy Chair of the New Zealand Branch of the RANZCP said today.

“Minister King’s announcement will come as cold comfort to psychiatrists who find themselves unable to meet the needs of those who present to services in Auckland with severe mental health problems. And yet again, the ones to pay the ultimate price will be people will mental illness.”

“A minor advance of Blueprint money and the creation of yet another bureaucracy don’t even come close to dealing with the fundamental structural and resource problems facing mental health services in Auckland,” Dr Fraser said.

"It’s like being a surgeon forced to operate with just half a scalpel," President of the College in Australia and New Zealand, Dr Wayne Miles said.

“We are very worried that the signal given by the Minister will further alienate an already seriously demoralised workforce who will vote with their feet.

“What we need is a serious response to a serious problem – an immediate commitment from Government to properly fund a sustainable mental health service for all New Zealanders.

“While this review focussed on services in Auckland, the issues we face are the same across New Zealand and across Australia – the need is overwhelming and the resources, both human and financial, are far too few.”

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