Government Votes Down Mental Health Bill Aimed at Helping Patients & Their FamiliesPosted: March 18, 2010 | |
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18 March 2010
Mental Health Bill Voted Down by National
The National Party put politics before mental health patients and their families when it voted against a bill to improve the delivery of mental health services last night, Luamanuvao Winnie Laban says.
The Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Amendment Bill would have clarified and strengthened the role of families and whänau in caring for their loved ones suffering mental health problems, Winnie Laban said.
“Unfortunately, the bill did not progress to the health select committee after being voted down by the narrowest of margins, 62 – 60.
“The bill had the support of Labour, the Greens, the Progressives, United Future, the Maori Party and Sir Roger Douglas.
“The National Party and the remaining members of the Act party opposed the bill. The Associate Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman was thrown out of the debating chamber during a particularly heated exchange.
“National is ignoring the vital role and needs of families by voting against the Bill.
“Families and whänau have a very important role to play in the treatment and recovery of mental health patients. This Bill seeks to clarify their rights, to ensure that they are provided with sufficient information to make informed decisions about their loved ones, and about mental illness in general so that they are better equipped to give full support to their family member,” Winnie Laban said.
“If National thinks that current mental health practices help families and whänau in being as informed and involved as they can be, then they have no idea what is currently happening in the mental health sector.
“This bill came very close to getting through to Select Committee stage where a real debate could have taken place, but the National Party has instead denied practitioners, families and others the chance to make submissions.
“We had a chance to make a real difference to the lives of people suffering with mental illness, and the people in the best position to love and support them — their families. Shamefully, National has shut this down,” Winnie Laban says.