Slim study on fat bud­get line

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By JIM CHIPP

The Gov­ern­ment’s new $28.8 mil­lion so­cial bond pro­gramme ap­pears to be based on a one-per­son pi­lot study.

In the Bud­get last month, Min­is­ter of Fi­nance Bill English an­nounced four new so­cial bond pro­grammes.

The first was aimed at get­ting men­tal health pa­tients into work.

The next was fo­cused on low­er­ing re­of­fend­ing rates and help­ing peo­ple man­age long-term health con­di­tions.

A spokes­woman for the Min­is­ter of Health said de­tails had yet to be fi­nalised.

She was un­able to say what ser­vices would be pro­vided un­der the bond or how re­sults would be mea­sured.

‘‘The cur­rent men­tal health pi­lot is where a non-gov­ern­ment or­gan­i­sa­tion has placed an em­ploy­ment ex­pert along­side a GP prac­tice, giv­ing men­tal health pa­tients em­ploy­ment ad­vice and sup­port,’’ she said.

‘‘The so­cial bond on men­tal health will look to ex­pand on this model.’’

Cole­man said ear­lier in a me­dia re­lease that sup­port and en­cour­age­ment to get a job were an im­por­tant part of care for men­tal health pa­tients.

Men­tal Health Foun­da­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive Judi Cle­ments agreed, say­ing most peo­ple with men­tal health prob­lems would pre­fer to be work­ing, if they were well enough.

‘‘ Get­ting into work can be an im­por­tant part of re­cov­ery for men­tal health pa­tients,’’ she said.

She be­lieved the scheme was more likely to be good than bad as long as the work was de­cent work, with rea­son­able hours and con­di­tions and fairly paid.

Labour MP for Mana, Kris Faafoi said he was ‘‘com­pletely op­posed’’ to the bonds.

‘‘ Given Porirua City’s patchy record of pro­vid­ing men­tal health ser­vices, we’ve got an obli­ga­tion to get things right,’’ Faafoi said.

‘‘I don’t think bring­ing in pri­vate in­vestors goes any­where close to get­ting things right.

‘‘If you’re look­ing for profit, you take the eas­ier cases and you in­vest as lit­tle as you can, and take the profit off that. And the harder cases don’t get looked af­ter.’’

Mana MP Kris Faafoi is op­posed to the Gov­ern­ment’s lat­est plan to as­sist men­tal health pa­tients.

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