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Greens call for mental health inquiry

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 18/07/2016

The Greens want an urgent inquiry into mental health services following revelations of widespread patient ill-treatment.

Health spokesman Kevin Hague says the New Zealand Herald investigation has revealed treatment "far worse than we could ever have imagined".

The Herald analysed more than 60 reports on hospital mental health and disability units.

Inspectors found repeated examples of poor care, overcrowding and untrained staff.

Some patients did not have access to fresh air or water, there was excessive use of restraints and evidence of punitive care rather than therapy.

The reports were written by inspectors and obtained from district health boards under the Official Information Act.

Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier told the Herald he was considering a special investigation.

The director of mental health, Dr John Crawshaw, denies there's any punitive treatment.

"A commitment to and a belief in people's recovery and wellbeing is at the heart of mental health clinicians' practice," he said.

A spokeswoman for Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says DHBs are expected to follow up on reports from inspectors.

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