INDEPENDENT NEWS

Concern Over Failed Mental Health Policies

Published: Tue 19 Oct 1999 03:05 PM
“The fact that 400 people met in Auckland last night to discuss the failings of the mental health system, is yet another example of Labour’s policies of the 1990s having gone so terribly wrong,” said New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters.
“It was Helen Clark as Minister of Health who said that deinstitutionalising patients and placing them into the community was worth the risk. That risk has proven to be extremely high and one which the community now considers to be unacceptable.
“The wasted years of social experimentation have led to the loss of hundreds of lives and it is time to stop and take stock of the terror that these practices have visited upon innocent victims and the community at large.
“Community care is totally dependent upon the support and back-up services being strong, robust, and reliable, but these patients are, in the main, simply dumped into the community without even checks on their medication.
“National is equally at fault. It continued these fatal policies simply to reduce the costs of mental health care.”
New Zealand First will redress the inadequate treatment and professional support provided to mentally ill patients and their families, ensure institutional care is available as we did by keeping Templeton open in 1997, and give the Mental Health Commission greater independence to provide national leadership in the mental health sector.
ENDS

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