MEDIA RELEASE, Wellington, Wednesday 29 October 2003
Salvation Army comments on Queen Mary Hospital closure in Hanmer Springs.
The Salvation Army notes the closure of Queen Mary Hospital in Hanmer Springs and recognises its special place in the hearts of many New Zealanders. Thousands of alcoholics and drug addicts and their families have, for over 30 years, benefited from the healing environment of the Hanmer Hospital.
This closure reflects changing trends in the field of alcohol and drug treatment. This field is sadly under-resourced and lacking in a number of areas, according to Major Lynette Hutson, National Manager of The Salvation Army’s Addiction Services. ‘We’re dealing with far more complex people and our resources are inadequate,’ she said.
The Salvation Army wished to see continued development of a full range of addiction services. ‘The harmful impact of alcohol and drugs is not confined to the person, but reaches into all aspects of New Zealand life. It is vital to provide a range of services that can be easily accessed by people with a problem.’
Residential services were still essential but other options such as day programmes and outpatient programmes could be equally effective. ‘The principle of the least disruptive intervention guides us. When a person stays in their own environment they benefit by implementing the changes they are learning on a daily basis. The person’s family can gain immediate benefits also.’
The Salvation Army provides a whole continuum of alcohol and drug services from outpatient through to intensive long-term residential treatment, with six Salvation Army residential services across the country and day and outpatient programmes in 10 centres from Kaitaia to Invercargill. At any one time The Salvation Army has over 1,000 people connected with its services across New Zealand.
Major Hutson said they were seeing changing patterns of alcohol and drug use and had major concerns about the devastating impact of new drugs, as well as the ongoing impact of alcohol, which was still the greatest cause of harm in society.
The drug ‘P’ was the most destructive new element on the scene, she said. ‘“P” is truly the most serious thing that we’ve seen in 20 years. In Auckland at the beginning of the year, one to two of our clients came with “P” as their main problem. Now, almost 50 per cent have “P” as their main presenting problem. We’re working hard to respond.
‘Our concern is to match the person to the most appropriate level of treatment and to give support to people impacted by addiction. We aim to reach as many people as possible with the help they desperately need,’ Major Hutson said.