TODAY |

Hospitals around NZ battling to find enough mental health workers

The well documented woes of our overloaded mental health system continue with two hospitals now confirming they're actively trying to find more specialist staff.

Despite $220 million being allocated by National in this year's budget to mental health over the next four years, questions remain where that money is being spent.

The PSA says skilled mental health workers aren't easy to find, with their National Secretary Erin Polaczuk saying mental health services are the DHB's "poorer cousin".

Wellington's Capital and Coast DHB also report they are operating with 13 staff vacancies and 27 per cent shortfall on its optimal workforce.

Mental Health Foundation chief executive Shaun Robinson said there are questions to be answered about where the government money is going.

"As far as I know the money's been voted by the government but it actually has not got to the services, so we actually need to see that getting into budgets of mental health services," Robinson said.

The impact of these shortages is being directly felt by hospitals and patients.

Stretched staffing on Auckland's North Shore has also seen a cut to inpatient beds at the Waitemata DHB until new staff arrive in the next few weeks.

Search for missing man continues

Dunedin police are still throwing everything into the search for missing mental health patient Gordy McLean.

It's now been six days since the 63-year-old walked out of his non-secure rehab unit at Waikari Hospital and hasn’t been seen since.

"We're obviously very worried about Gordy. The weather has been pretty bad down here," Sergeant Richard Panting said.



Source: 1 NEWS