Fam­i­lies ‘not cop­ing’ in Hutt

Upper Hutt Leader - - FRONT PAGE - RACHEL THOMAS

If a Hutt Val­ley teen was seek­ing a non-ur­gent men­tal health ap­point­ment, they would have to hang on for at least eight weeks.

That’s the next avail­able ap­point­ment avail­able for 12-19 year-olds in the area, where an in­de­pen­dent review has found gap­ing holes in the ser­vice.

In May, there was a lag time of six months be­tween ini­tial con­tact with the Hutt Val­ley Dis­trict Health Board’s in­fant, child, ado­les­cent and fam­ily men­tal health ser­vice and a fol­low-up ap­point­ment, the report found.

‘‘There is a gen­eral sense of fam­i­lies not cop­ing, no real re­sources in the com­mu­nity to sup­port chil­dren and fam­i­lies and very lit­tle early in­ter­ven­tion – things are left to get to a high level of dis­tress,’’ one un­named stake­holder said in the report.

The report, by Auck­land health con­sul­tancy firm, Chiplin Con­sult­ing, was com­mis­sioned by the dis­trict health board in April af­ter Min­istry of Health data re­vealed wait times were stretch­ing be­yond eight weeks for a third of peo­ple 19 and un­der.

As well as poor fol­low-up rates, key ar­eas of con­cern in­cluded the use of part pa­per, part elec­tronic records, mas­sive lag times in re­cruit­ing core staff, no cul­tur­ally-spe­cific ap­proaches for youth, and is­sues with the ser­vice be­ing lo­cated at Hutt Hospi­tal.

Staff said the build­ing was cramped, leaky, and had a stained, mouldy ceil­ing.

The report rec­om­mended the ser­vice be ei­ther re­lo­cated to com­mu­nity bases in both Lower Hutt and Up­per Hutt, or a cen­tral base be cre­ated to pro­vide ser­vices at a range of lo­ca­tions across the Hutt. There was also a need for an over­haul of the lead­er­ship struc­ture, bet­ter triag­ing sys­tems and a plan around ap­proaches for Ma¯ori and Pasi­fika peo­ple.

Con­sul­ta­tion had be­gun with staff re­gard­ing the rec­om­men­da­tions, gen­eral man­ager of the Welling­ton re­gion’s men­tal health ser­vice, Nigel Fairley, said.

Young peo­ple who needed an ur­gent ap­point­ment were cur­rently seen within two days, he said. But the wait­ing times for some non-ur­gent ser­vices ‘‘are longer than our com­mu­nity should rea­son­ably ex­pect’’.

For a child up to 13-years-old at Hutt Val­ley DHB, the next avail­able non-ur­gent ap­point­ment was in two weeks, or eight weeks for peo­ple aged 12 to 19. The na­tional tar­get is 80 per cent of peo­ple be­ing seen within three weeks.

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