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Review on mental health patient seclusion

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 8/06/2016

Seclusion and restraint of mental health patients will be reviewed, after it emerged an autistic man is being locked away for more than 23 hours a day.

Ashley Peacock has in effect been kept in solitary confinement in a Porirua mental health unit for the past five years, The New Zealand Herald reported.

Opposition MPs voiced their protest at his seclusion, with Green Party health spokesman Kevin Hague saying an urgent and nationwide enquiry was needed.

The Human Rights Commission says it will lead a review into seclusion and restraint practices in New Zealand.

"The Human Rights Commission and other organisations have repeatedly raised concerns about the way Government agencies detain some New Zealanders and keep them in solitary confinement or seclusion," said Disability Rights Commissioner Paul Gibson.

Mr Peacock's case was tragic and shocking, he said.

"Humanely meeting the needs of detained individuals, including those who have complex mental health and psycho-social conditions, is a key area of concern in New Zealand."

The commission will engage an international expert in seclusion practices to assist with the review.

"How we treat our most vulnerable tells us a lot about the kind of country we are are.

"Ashley and others like him deserve human rights just like every other New Zealander," Mr Gibson said.

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