The Ombudsman is urging action to fix “serious and persistent” problems at New Zealand’s mental health units, after delivering scathing reports on the state of five units, where a litany of human rights breaches were discovered.
The Ombudsman, Peter Boshier, found two such facilities were in breach of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, despite previous warnings.
Wellington and Waitakere Hospitals were singled out for particularly harsh criticism.
Te Whare o Matairangi Mental Health Inpatient Unit at Wellington Hospital came under fire for using seclusion rooms as bedrooms when over capacity, despite a previous recommendation from the Ombudsman that this should stop.
“These rooms contain little more than a mattress, and are supposed to be used as a short-term measure for patients who are assessed as an imminent safety risk,” Boshier said.
Absolutely seclusion rooms should not be used for long-stay accommodation.
The Government made a lot of noise around mental health and said it was spending $1.4 billion on it. So how come mental health units don’t have enough rooms?