Mental health workers speak out after Capital and Coast DHB report

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Mental health workers from Capital and Coast DHB have taken the unusual step of approaching the public after the Mellsop report into services there, the PSA says.

Delegates from the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi have written an open letter to the people of the Wellington region, published in today’s Dominion Post.

They explain how they know the system is in crisis, and how they’ve approached Health Minister Jonathan Coleman again and again, to be told there is no problem.

"Our members in mental health say it’s a big step to speak out like this, but they want Wellingtonians to know they share their concerns," PSA National Secretary Glenn Barclay says.

"Under National, more than $1.7 billion has vanished from the health budget, and the ring-fence around mental health funding exists in name only.

"Lack of money means DHBs are struggling to replace ageing buildings and outdated alarm systems which have potentially life-threatening flaws - not to mention hiring staff and improving safety.

"Our members say the system is in crisis and they’re seeing a steady erosion of their ability to support and stand up for their clients."

Mr Barclay says the PSA has raised these concerns with Health Minister Jonathan Coleman but has had no success.

"Dr Coleman says he’s increased funding, and that the mental health system overall is functioning.

"But our members know better, and they say that’s wrong.

"They hope that by writing to the Wellington region, they can increase pressure on Dr Coleman to reinstate the ring-fence - and take this crisis seriously."

The open letter, published in the print edition of the Dominion Post on 9 February 2017, is attached.

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