DHB Board member Diana Kirton is our Guest Buzzmaker for August’s BayBuzz Digest.

Diana calls attention to HB’s neglected Mental Health Inpatient Unit. While praising the Bay’s network of community-based mental health services, she notes that those needing more intensive treatment are cared for in a facility well past its use-by date.

As she puts it: “This outdated relic of the 1970’s is a blight on a vastly improved mental health and addictions services landscape.”

Diana continues: “… no matter how responsive the services in the community are, the reality is that sufferers of severe mental illness will have episodes where intensive treatment is required. There will be times when their world falls apart and they need to be stabilized in a hospital setting. This is the time when they most need an environment that is safe, welcoming and nurturing. Anyone who has been to Hawke’s Bay’s inpatient unit will agree that the building is far from this ideal … The public outrage would be deafening if our accident and emergency centre looked like the mental health unit …”

I urge you to read Diana’s column here in its entirety. I add my perspective, based on my own tour of the facility, in Past Its Use-by Date.

If you want to make a difference, make your views known to MPs Foss and Tremain on the matter. Both have recently visited the Inpatient Unit, and a visit by Tony Ryall, Minister of Health, has been arranged.

Tom Belford

P.S. The entire August BayBuzz Digest is available for downloading or reading here.

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