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No accountability in mental health spending

Jonathan Coleman MP
National Party Associate Health Spokesman
7 November 2007
No accountability in mental health spending

Tens of millions of dollars were paid out by District Health Boards to mental health service providers in 2006/2007, yet DHBs have no idea how many patients are being seen by those providers, says National Party Associate Health spokesman (Mental Health) Jonathan Coleman.

"The Health Ministry claims in its Statement of Intent that one of its key priorities is achieving value for money. Yet we have a situation where there is no framework for determining how many patients are being seen for the money being paid out to providers.”

Dr Coleman was commenting after the Health Ministry admitted it has no way of counting numbers of individual clients seen by providers, although this is a ‘work in progress’. The Ministry said it could not be sure there were not poor providers contracted by DHBs.

"It's absolutely ridiculous. When you ask Auckland DHB how many patients were seen for the $30 million paid out to mental health providers last year, they tell you that information is collected at the Ministry level. So you write to the Ministry, and it says it doesn’t count the numbers of individual clients - but the DHB may know!"

"It's a hopeless circle of bureaucracy - no one can tell you how many patients are seen for the tens of millions of dollars spent on mental health providers."

ENDS

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