26 Sep 2013 | Health Quality & Safety Commission
Associate Health Minsters Hon Jo Goodhew and Hon Todd McClay have welcomed today’s release of a report on serious adverse events in the mental health and addiction service sector.
The report, District health board mental health and addictions services: serious adverse events reported to the Health Quality and Safety Commission, looks at incidents of serious harm to patients of mental health and addictions services over the 2012/13 year.
DHBs reported 177 serious adverse events over the 12 month period, including 134 suspected suicides.
“I commend the Health Quality & Safety Commission on its report. This government takes any adverse reports in the health sector very seriously. Information such as this assists the government and sector to learn from these events and make improvements to services. Transparency is paramount if we are to make advances in patient safety and care,” says Mrs Goodhew.
“The report isn’t about pointing fingers, but about getting a better understanding of adverse events with a view to continuous improvement. It is precisely this sort of activity that the Commission was established to do.”
The report uses for the first time data that extends to 28 days after a client has used a service, capturing significantly more events than previous processes.
“Mental health and addiction service users unfortunately have a higher rate of suicide which is not unique to New Zealand. The numbers are too high, but the 177 events do need to be viewed in the wider context of the number of service users in that period, which was in excess of 150,000 across DHB and NGO providers,” says Mr McClay.
“This government has put significant resource into addressing mental health, addiction and suicide prevention, including the suicide prevention action plan, the Prime Minister’s youth mental health project, Drivers of Crime initiatives, maternal mental health and eating disorder services. Funding for mental health overall has increased $200m since 2008.”
Both ministers emphasised that supporting those with mental illness was a community-wide responsibility.
“Preventing suicide doesn’t just sit with the government and health services – it is everybody’s responsibility. There is no substitute for family, friends, whānau and community to provide ongoing support to those who need it.”