INDEPENDENT NEWS

Loss of Maori mental health care beds a disgrace

Published: Thu 9 Oct 2003 02:31 PM
Loss of Maori mental health care beds a disgrace
The imminent closure of the inpatient service at New Zealand's only residential Maori mental health unit, in Auckland, is the last straw in the appalling mishandling of Maori mental health care, Green MP Sue Bradford said today.
"This is another door callously closing in the face of vulnerable people. Auckland is already in the middle of a mental health care crisis, with a drastic shortage of inpatient beds. It is an appalling time to be reducing the number of beds even further," the Green Mental Health Spokesperson said.
The Manawanui Unit's 16-bed inpatient service in Mt Albert is to close within the next two weeks, with most of the staff laid off, when it moves its marae down the road to a new Carrington Rd site.
Funded by several district health boards, the service has till now provided both clinical and cultural support to patients. The focus is to shift to giving Maori rehabilitation support in the community.
"Where will the homeless find new homes, and those without whanau find new whanau, under the nebulous packages of care proposed as a replacement?" Ms Bradford asked.
"The Government has to step in and save the unit's residential service, to honour its commitment to providing more mental health services by Maori for Maori.
"To honour its commitment to the Treaty, the Government should be putting more resources into the provision of Maori mental health care by Maori; not standing back and allowing a key service to be run down."
Ms Bradford said the unit had from its inception been under-resourced and deliberately kneecapped.
"To close the inpatient service without proper consultation with Maori is a travesty. There is no evidence of the consultation that is supposed to have happened."
Ms Bradford today asks Parliamentary Question No. 2 on the subject.
ENDS

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