Mental health: Minister “extraordinarily frustrated” as only five new acute care beds added after $ 1.9 billion investment
Health Minister Andrew Little said he was “extremely frustrated” that the government’s $ 1.9 billion mental health program was not channeled into real services – and hinted at an independent review of the process.
it comes after Newshub reported that only five additional mental health care beds were added out of the $ 235 million invested in mental health facilities in Budget 2019, and Thing revealed huge underutilization of the new flagship service for people with more moderate mental health needs.
A response to a written question from National Congressman Matt Doocey indicated that of the $ 235 million for new facilities, only $ 500,000 had been spent – 0.2 percent.
Little, who was not a minister at the time, told media he was “extraordinarily” frustrated that the government’s $ 1.9 billion investment had not been used two years after the fact.
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“This is a budget that we made two years ago, with commitments made two years ago. I’m still trying to figure it out – I don’t expect the facilities to be finished and fully staffed, but we seem to be a long way from putting a shovel in the ground, ”a Little said.
“I find it frustrating that we are not there yet.”
Little said a spending review is likely to be announced soon.
“You can expect to hear more from me about this in the coming weeks. Now that we are almost halfway through the 2019 reform process, it is time to take stock and find out how decisions were made, where we are, how far we need to go, and I think that it is preferable that this be carried out independently. of the ministry.
He said it was “not acceptable” that mental health inpatients do not receive the best possible facilities “but this is the system we have inherited”.
Little was forced to correct his own statements in the House earlier this year after revealing that Department of Health officials misled him about the availability of key mental health data, which Thing revealed had been edited from a routine mental health report.
A health ministry official was concerned that there was “a lot of negative data and statistics” in the report without proper context on what the ministry was doing to address it, emails posted under the Health Act showed. official information.
The report found that the use of segregation had increased under the Labor government, and it later emerged that wait times for adolescent mental health services were on the rise as well.
Mental Health Foundation CEO Shaun Robinson said the crisis had worsened since Labor took power in 2017, promising to resolve it.
Doocey said it was not enough for people to sleep on the floor. The government has promised to make a difference in mental health, to transform the mental health system, and has completely let the country down.
He said only $ 500,000 had been spent of the $ 235 million for new mental health facilities, and the health ministry had misled the public by not clarifying that on Monday.
“This is the second time the Ministry of Health has misled people.