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Access: Patients X, Y and Z

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  • Hilary Stace,

    G Palmer's and Butler book on a constitution launched today.
    They give example of family carers as one why we need a constitution. There has been a lot of discussion about that topic on Access.

    This is not scaremongering; actions like it have happened. For example, in 2013 Parliament enacted the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Amendment Act in a single sitting day. Its principal effects were first to prevent anyone ever making a complaint to the Human Rights Commission or bringing a court proceeding against any Government family carer policy no matter how discriminatory, and second, to exclude retrospectively the provision of remedies for past discrimination. It followed a decision of the Court of Appeal that had upheld the human rights of some of the most vulnerable people in our community—the disabled and family members who cared for them. There was no warning that the Bill was to be introduced; there was no public consultation on it; there was no Select Committee consideration of it. By any measure, it was a shocking piece of legislation that ousted well-known constitutional protections and removed New Zealand citizens’ rights to be free from discrimination in certain cases. Yet it passed in a single sitting day despite almost immediate public outcry. Only another Act of Parliament can alter or remove it. That is how fragile our constitutional system currently is.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

  • Hilary Stace,

    Another case in the High Court and another example of how the legal system doesn't understand and disproportionately punishes people with autism for autistic behaviour.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

  • Rosemary McDonald,

    And another case of a person with autism being committed under the Mental health Act...this time, its a fourteen year old.

    Karen Lende was left shocked, frustrated and angry when her son Jai Ferris, 14, was taken from the special needs unit at Spotswood College to Taranaki Base Hospital under the Mental Health Act.

    When he came home three weeks later Jai didn't want to leave the house.

    She didn't want him to be admitted but didn't have any say in the matter, she said.

    Lende said a mental health worker had sent Jai to the hospital, but Taranaki DHB child psychiatrist Yariv Doran said he didn't know who had invoked the act.

    But by the time a patient gets to the hospital they have been assessed by at least four people, Doran said.

    "If anyone along the way thinks it's not justifiable it will stop, so if any client reaches our doorstep it means he or she has been seen by a few people before us and they are of the same agreement - this person needs to be assessed."

    It had to be a massive crisis for the Mental Health Act to be invoked and an independent auditor assessed all patients admitted under the act on a daily basis, he said.

    So, a child is committed and the child psychiatrist does not know who the individual was who invoked the Act.

    This is extremely troubling, especially when Jai's Mum had been told how important it was to ...

    ... start a paper trail that might help her get some assistance,

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1346 posts Report

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    Shocking story. Do we think the 'system transformation' of disability support will prevent such things happening in the future? I suspect something more fundamental and child centred is required.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Do we think the ‘system transformation’ of disability support will prevent such things happening in the future?


    But ok...lets be are direct links to reports on the three meetings so far.

    April 11

    April 26

    May 4

    They are still working on the terms of reference and spent some time stating the obvious..

    We need to design the system to meet the needs of a diverse disability community

    We discussed ‘diversity factors’ – a design tool that helps us to understand the breadth of the community. These are expressed as a range with an extreme at each end and lots of people in between. Some of the diversity factors we discussed were:

    Limiting options to creating solutions. Some disabled people and their families lack confidence and focus on what they can’t do, thereby limiting the possibilities, while others search for and create solutions and options
    Risk adverse to developing independence. This ranges from risk adverse and protective parents and carers, to those who support people to be independent and make choices about their life.
    Willingness to engage or trust the system. There might be issues of fear, privacy, resistance about being labelled, tikanga, hoha, distrust of the Crown, discomfort about the assessment process or they live with dysfunctional families. Others have trust in the system and the people involved
    Sense of identity. Some disabled people do not yet know where they belong while others have a strong sense of identity and of belonging
    Socially isolated to strong peer networks
    Visible impairment where other people accept your need for support compared to invisible impairments
    Impairments fluctuate, needs are unpredictable and changing, while some impairments and needs are stable
    Financial options. The type of life disabled people experience can be limited by a lack of finances which reduces the options available while others are financially stable and have more choice
    Use of technology. Some disabled people have no access to, or any confidence with technology while others are at ease and able to use new technology.

    This is entry level stuff.

    I'm not sure what the benefit is of perpetually describing and defining disability, unless it is to avoid/delay describing and defining the many faults in the disability support system.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1346 posts Report

  • Hilary Stace,

    Over a year later we have the Judge's decision.

    It am very angry and upset about it. These men were often treated as less than human for years by an uncaring system in which they were incarcerated. They experienced some of the worst aspects of institutionalisation. But all fine according to the Judge. They were 'dangerous' and therefore had no rights and were fortunate to have such kind and caring staff looking after them.

    It is sad that Colin Burgering, who championed the rights of these men and others, died last year so can no longer fight for them. Tony Ellis argued the case with minimal resources against the full resources of the state. He could now take it to the United Nations under the Optional Protocol of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities - but who would fund that?

    This is why an inquiry into our mental health system and a separate inquiry into historic abuse, are so urgent. These men - and all the others - need to be supported to tell their own stories. This needs to be done in a respectful and inclusive way. In an adversarial environment they will never win.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    I was also bitterly disappointed by this result Hilary. I was hoping, especially after all the publicity and public support around Ashley Peacock, that justice would prevail and the Court would acknowledge that no matter how purportedly "kind and caring" the staff were, incarcerating someone indefinitely because of the presumed potential for violence is totally unfucking acceptable in a free and democratic society.

    I am also sorry to hear that Colin Burgering has died. A true advocate. Rare, and will be sorely missed.

    How do we go about persuading, no, making our new Gummint hold an urgent inquiry into mental health services and also into historic abuse???

    I am going to email Ardern immediately and remind her of the pre-election talk around these issues....although.... the manifesto is a little unspecific.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1346 posts Report

  • Sacha, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    How do we go about persuading, no, making our new Gummint hold an urgent inquiry into mental health services and also into historic abuse?

    Haven't they already committed in the last couple of weeks to doing both?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Sacha,

    Yes they have committed to doing both. Tracey Martin was on the Nation in the weekend talking about the historic abuse inquiry. The main problem as far as I am concerned is getting the terms of reference wide enough to include everyone affected and all their concerns.

    There is a commitment to getting both inquiries started in the 100 days which goes to the 3 Feb. It seems like the historic abuse one needs to be bigger and fuller, while most of the issues are already known for the mental health inquiry so it can be smaller and quicker and lead to some practical actions to improve things early next year.

    So it seems like Tracey Martin is in charge of the historic abuse inquiry and David Clark appears to be scoping the mental health one. There are some complex processes to sort out but I am hopeful we will see action on both by February.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

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