Review takes mental health workers by surprise
10 Jul 2012
A planned financial review of mental health services which could result in major cutbacks has taken mental health workers by surprise and is poorly timed, according to the Public Service Association.
The Ministry of Health has announced it will be reviewing a number of key service areas such as mental health, child and maternity, public health and emergency services to identify how they can each achieve savings of 10% over the next four years.
PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff says the review comes just as mental health services are on the cusp of major change under a new service delivery plan.
“The Mental Health Blueprint 2 will shift the focus to the community and primary mental health services, which could impact on acute services.”
“It’s not known exactly how this will play out but to start talking about a major financial review on top of it is very unsettling for mental health staff and has come completely out of the blue.”
The PSA says public health workers will also be feeling nervous as a redirection and reprioritisation of funding has already resulted in job losses in areas such as health promotion.
Richard Wagstaff says “these reviews were not signalled and there has been no consultation with health staff whose job it is to deliver these services. We need to see more information about how these reviews will be run and ensure that staff are fully consulted and informed.”