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Social Bonds not about Recovery

Social Bonds not about Recovery

Monday 2nd June, 2015

Yesterday the Government announced the extension of a pilot scheme described as “Social Incentive Bonds” which allows for the introduction of private funds, and profit driven incentives, in the area of social services. It stated it would be moving into utilising this unproven and experimental policy to get more people suffering from mental health difficulties back to work.

Depsite how this policy is being sold, this move is not about providing the best possible care for mental health sufferers, and will ultimately introduce “perverse incentives” into health care, a move the NZAP opposes.

“My concern is that we have seen in other areas that profit becomes the primary motivation of funders, not optimal care” says Kyle MacDonald Public Issues spokesperson for the New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists. “We’ve seen this already with incentives introduced to elective surgery, to achieve targets organizations simply remove people from waiting lists, and in doing so, make the situatuion worse.”

Early indications are the focus of this policy will be on moving more mentally ill back into the work force, which in some cases can be very beneficial, but we also know from overseas that one of the limitations of Social Bonds schemes is they are a very blunt instrument in that they are not oriented around health outcomes for individuals, but instead around acheiving simple goals like decreasing the number of unemployed mental health consumers.

“It is too easy to create situaitions where schemes only take on those that are seen as “easy” to help or bully others into unsuitable work to achieve targets and therefore profits” says MacDonald. “As an organizatin we are very concerened about the harm this policy will likely cause for mental health Consumers.”


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