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Former Lake Alice patients to receive Crown Aid

8 October 2001 Media Statement

Former Lake Alice patients to receive Crown-funded aid


Health Minister Annette King says former Lake Alice patients who have yet to bring forward a claim with the Crown should contact the Ministry of Health as soon as possible, in order to have their claims examined.

A group of 95 former patients of the Child and Adolescent Unit at Lake Alice Hospital this week received compensation and an apology from the Government for the unacceptable treatment they received out at the hospital between 1972 and 1977.

However, there are an as-yet unknown number of other former patients who might be eligible for compensation who have yet to file a claim.

The Government has assigned David Collins QC as a Crown-appointed lawyer to handle these former patients' claims, and retired High Court Judge Sir Rodney Gallen, who heard the claims of the 95 patients represented by Grant Cameron Associates, would be retained to hear the new claims.

Mrs King said today those people who had been at Lake Alice at the time of the incidents, and who were not part of the original settlement process, needed to contact the Ministry of Health in Wellington in the first instance. Their claims would be assessed, and details sent to the Crown Law Office, which had appointed Mr Collins to act on the behalf of individuals. Appropriate cases would be forwarded to Sir Rodney for consideration.

Mrs King said by using the services of a Crown-funded lawyer, complainants would be saved from "the trouble and expense" of having to find a lawyer to represent them, and having to pay lawyers' fees.

"The Crown will take care of that."

While the $6.5 million the Government had set aside for claimants had last month been paid to the 95 patients represented by Grant Cameron Associates, Cabinet would look at setting aside another sum of money for the new claimants.

"The Government is determined to resolve the grievances of all people who may have suffered the unacceptable practices that went on at Lake Alice at the time," Mrs King said.

Former child patients at Lake Alice wishing to check their eligibility should look at an information sheet on the Ministry of Health's website www.moh.govt.nz/lakealice or call the coordinator on (04) 496 2311.
The information sheet includes details about how to contact the Ministry and what information it would like from them.

Some of the remaining former patients may already have legal representation. If they do so they will need to discuss with the lawyer currently representing them, any issues around use of the Crown-funded lawyer. Lawyers acting for the former child patients can contact the Crown Law Office if their clients wish to participate in the settlement process with Sir Rodney.


ENDS

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