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Caring for high needs, vulnerable New Zealanders

Hon Dr David Clark

Minister of Health

9 August 2018

Media Statement

A new purpose-built mental health facility will mean a better environment, better care and an improved quality of life for a group of extremely vulnerable New Zealanders, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says. 

Announcing $8.4m in funding for a new six unit secure facility, she said it would provide quality, individualised care for New Zealand's most high needs intellectual disability and mental health patients. 

"It may be a small number of people who need this service, but at the moment we're not meeting that need. 

"These people are sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. They and the staff who care for them deserve fit for purpose facilities that meet existing needs and this investment ensures that. 

"It is part of our commitment to fix problems in the mental health sector and follows previous initiatives including dedicated mental health support to primary and intermediate schools in Kaikoura and Christchurch, funding new drug and detox facilities at Auckland City Mission and a pilot programme for free counselling to 18 to 25 year olds," Jacinda Ardern said. 

The new units will house patients who have an intellectual disability and or a mental health diagnosis, under the care of Mental Health Addiction and Intellectual Disability Services, and will be built by Capital & Coast DHB at their Rātonga-Rua-O-Porirua Campus.

Health Minister Dr David Clark said the individualised service units will provide greater quality of life for patients who had previously been in inpatient services for a significant period of time. 

"This will provide an opportunity for greater rehabilitative gains and the potential for reintegration into the community," Dr Clark said. 

"This Government has significantly increased the funding available to DHBs for capital works to $750m for the 2018/19 financial year, focusing on mental health facilities such as the individualised service units planned for Rātonga-Rua-O-Porirua, as well as the most urgent building projects and remediating critical infrastructure." 

An inquiry into mental health and addiction services is due to report back to the Government at the end of October. 

"We expect it to result in robust recommendation and advice for improving outcomes for those suffering mental health distress. But in the meantime getting this new facility underway will mean better care for a small group of clients and wider benefits across the sector in terms of reduced pressure on existing facilities," Dr Clark said. 

Last updated: August 9, 2018