INDEPENDENT NEWS

Wellington Mental Health Facilities Slashed

Published: Tue 13 Aug 2002 09:02 AM
Wellington Mental Health Facilities Slashed
Monday 12 Aug 2002
The Health Minister has allowed acute mental health facilities in Wellington to be substantially reduced, setting the region up for another tragedy like the murder of Fiona Maulolo, ACT Wellington-based MP Heather Roy said today.
"The horrific death of Fiona is a lesson as to what will happen when the Government slams shut the asylum doors and opts instead for community care as the only option for the mentally ill.
"Yet Annette King has allowed another psychiatric ward to close, leaving just twenty-eight acute psychiatric beds to service the entire Wellington region of 250,000 people. During the election campaign, Annette King allowed Te Whare o Rangatuhi - a facility at Kenepuru for acute cases - to close. Rangatuhi was the last acute facility in the area for psychiatric patients. This has thrown considerable pressure on the remaining facility, Te Whare o Maitairangi, where some patients have been sleeping on the floor.
"This is the latest in a long line of closures of inpatient facilities throughout the country.
"Acute patients need access to twenty-four hour specialised, psychiatric nursing care. Most patients have been sent to halfway homes, many of which are unable to provide this type of care.
"Annette King clearly hasn't learned any lessons from the series of tragedies among psychiatric patients." Mrs Roy said.
Ends

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