Slim study on fat budget line
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.