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DHB has just 1.4 staff for child patient mental health

Media Release - 17 September 2019

Capital and Coast DHB has just 1.4 staff for child patient mental health

The Capital and Coast District Health Board (CCDHB) has been labelled ‘NATO’ (no action, talk only) when it comes to child mental health, with just 0.6 full time staff (24 hours per week) for inpatient child psychology and just 0.8 full time staff (32 hours per week) for outpatient child psychology.

“Yet again there’s a massive gulf between rhetoric and reality, which is why a ‘no action, talk only’ DHB Board needs a new broom,” says Letitia Isa, who is standing for election to the Capital and Coast DHB.

“The CCDHB confirms in writing that there are just 1.4 full time equivalent staff to support the mental health of every child admitted to Wellington Children’s Hospital, or being treated as an outpatient.

“That’s a grand total of 56-hours per week to support every in-patient or outpatient child.

“I do not see it as a triumph to trumpet an increase of 0.8 FTE staff (32 hours per week) over the past year. Where’s the injection from the 2019 Wellbeing Budget you may well ask? I am.

“The reality of just 56-hours per week for in-patient and outpatient child psychology, is that acute mental health demands will naturally absorb time. This denies vital support to children who are dealing with life-threatening, chronic conditions or other health needs.

“Under resourcing on the ward shunts them to the back of the queue. I’d venture to suggest this is possibly reflected with adult services as well. When people need mental health support the most it’s just not there.

“Instead of parking the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, I believe, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

“That’s why I am standing for election because this ought not be a question of either/or but should be, all. This is why the voice of patients and families is desperately needed on a Capital and Coast’s Board that’s not delivering,” Ms Isa finished by saying.


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