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Forensic Mental Health Services Conference Timely

FEEDBACK on issues facing forensic mental health services at a conference being held in Wellington this week will be a welcome contribution to work currently being finalised by the Ministry of Health, spokeswoman Janice Wilson says.

Dr Wilson, Deputy Director-General Mental Health, said the Ministry had undertaken a census of all forensic services in September 1999 and again in April this year.

The results of that work, together with data from the National Study on Psychiatric Morbidity in Prisons, are being brought together in the national Forensic Review.

"The review found a general consensus from those providing forensic services and those using them that the current forensic mental health service model provides an effective way of delivering services," Dr Wilson said.

"It also identified some issues which we are working through now.

Dr Wilson said the outcome of the review would undoubtedly see increased services to prisons, increased numbers of secure inpatient beds, increased community services and some more services to the courts.

"This is a significant piece of work which will set the benchmarks for forensic mental health services in the future, as well as identifying the resource requirements. In the meantime we are already planning extra stepdown beds in some centres following extra funding this financial year."

The review is due to be made public early next year. Dr Wilson said it had originally been hoped to have the review available earlier but extra time was being allowed to take account of sector concerns.

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"Forensic psychiatry is an area beset with complexity. Hence the solutions are not simple, straightforward or immediate.

The conference, Pacific Care 2000, is organised by Capital Coast Health and features presentations from local and international experts on forensic mental health services.

Forensic mental health services cover people in prison those in the Court system people who have been found unfit to plead, not guilty by reason of insanity or ordered to be detained in a hospital people who have completed their sentence but still require continued inpatient treatment a few people from adult mental health services who need forensic services because of their dangerousness.

ends

For more information contact:

Annie Coughlan Media Ädvisor Tel: 496 2067/025 495 989

Frances Ross Chief Media Advisor Communications DDI: 496 2202 Fax: 496 2010 mailto:frances_ross@moh.govt.nz Ministry of Health


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