New Zealand: First Report of Director of Mental Health

29 November 2006
Scoop Independent News

First Annual Report of the Office of the Director of Mental Health released
The first annual report by the Office of the Director of Mental Health has been released today by the Ministry of Health.

The publication provides a record of the work the office does and reports on some of the activities of District Inspectors of Mental Health and the Mental Health Review Tribunal. It is part of the office’s accountability to the sector and will be of significant interest to many people, including mental health service users and their families, those who work in the sector, and advocacy groups. It will also contribute to improved standards of care and treatment for people with a mental illness.

“We are proud of this work and believe it is an enormous achievement. The report reflects the importance we place on transparency and accountability to the sector and the wider public. We hope to build on this information in subsequent reports and include trend data,” says Dr David Chaplow, Director of Mental Health and Chief Advisor Mental Health.

The report is divided into three sections. The first section looks at how the office operates and the legislation it is guided by. The second section describes the work carried out by the office in 2005 and the third section provides information on the use of the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992, electroconvulsive therapy treatments and deaths of people subject to the Act. An appendix provides historical background on compulsory treatment in New Zealand.

For the first time raw data on the use of compulsory treatment is being published. It shows marked variations between district health boards.The data has not been analysed and the differences could be due to a range of reasons, such as the differences in the nature of their populations, service coverage or clinical practice.

Information on the numbers and outcomes of Special and Restricted-Patient’s leave and change of legal status applications considered by the Health Minister are also included.

“We have not captured all the data we would like, for example statistics on the use of force, serious adverse incidents and seclusion are not included because the earlier data is not reliable enough,” Dr Chaplow says.

” However, District Health Boards now have more robust reporting procedures in place and as a result we expect to be able to include trend data in future annual reports.”

The report also includes research looking at the outcomes for Special Patients found not guilty of a crime, by reason of insanity, over the last three decades. The work followed an indication by the Law Commission that it intended to review section 23 of the Crimes Act 1961, which relates to insanity.

“Our research found that following discharge in to the community, people acquitted on the grounds of insanity are reconvicted of violent crimes at a very low rate, although readmission to hospital is more common,” Dr Chaplow says.

During 2005 there were 23 deaths recorded for people subject to the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992, of which six were suspected suicides.

Full report

Comments (5)

Kevin OwenDecember 23rd, 2006 at 11:52 pm

I live in Rotorua New Zealand which was recently nominated as the SHOCK CAPITAL of the country with more patients being shocked than any where else in the country. When Dr David Chaplow, Director of Mental Health and Chief Advisor Mental Health was asked why there were so many in Rotorua to compared with other centers, his answer was that he was happy with the numbers

I talked to a nurse recently who said they had to refer patients to other psychiatrists as some of them were using it to treat anything and everything.

The article shock capital came out just after that

I also phoned the furneral homes in my area to check why there were so many suicides. They told me that 9 out of 10 suicides were after psychiatric help.

Think Psychiatry Has Nothing To Do With You? Think Again

JuliDecember 24th, 2006 at 11:40 pm

There’s no regulation of shock treatment and it seems there are some snake oil hucksters out there willing to give it for all kinds of maladies. You should see my email box and the queries I get. Doctors are actually out there telling patients shock will cure their migraines and other nonsense.

I was involved in a forced shock case in St. Louis a few years ago….an elderly woman with Alzheimers was chewing on the chair they sat her in day after day. (Ever heard of boredom? I might eat my chair if I had to sit in front of a TV all day too!)

But that was her “crime.” Chewing on her chair. So the doctor (who is strangely often involved in forced shock cases in St. Louis) said she needed shock. Some of her family were against it and tried to stop it, but he hauled them to court.

He very seriously told the judge that shock would CURE this woman’s Alzheimers. And that dumbass judge believed it without even questioning it. Ordered the shock against the family’s will.

We got it stopped eventually, but only because of a technicality.

Can you imagine the idiocy of the judge who just believed what this guy said? What happened to a little common sense? If the judge had any, he might have thought, “Hmmm, if ECT cures Alzheimers then why aren’t they giving shock to everyone in nursing homes? Why didn’t Ronald Reagan/Charlton Heston and others have it?”

That judge was, in my opinion, worse than Ricky Mofsen, DO, the shock doc. That’s because he didn’t even use his head in ordering the shock. He just rubber stamped whatever Mofsen asked for.

What an idiot. I think I need to do some work on that judge and add him to the Hall of Shame. Ya think? Also Mofsen. Maybe they’ll be the honorees for 2007.

zaraJuly 7th, 2007 at 5:06 pm

the new zealand based STOP FORCED DRUGGING site has posters/photos of the inside of a psych ward/ and legal discussions


frances masonNovember 9th, 2007 at 3:58 am

Dear Dr David Chaplow,
My sister who lives in Auckland sent me a recent article in the new Zealand Herald about the new initiatives to be provided for Aucklands Community Alcohol& Drug Services.
Iwondered if you can send me further information about these initiatives.
My background is psychiatry but for the past 10 years I have specialised in Addictions.During this time i have been involved in the set up of a dual diagnosis service, worked for a home detox team then worked as the Alcohol Development Officer at the local Alcohol Drug Action team.
Recently I have set up and developed an Alcohol Liaison Service that covers 2 general hospital’s (19 miles apart)and has been recognised as a model of good practice.
I would be interested in working for your service if the opportunity became availabe
Yours Frances Mason

Pam EdwardsJuly 15th, 2009 at 9:02 pm

Hello Dr Chaplow,
I was a patient of yours at your clinic in Whakatane,in my 20′s, with 2 young children around 1972. You treated me for what I would call in those days “Suburban Neurosis” and as I was on the pill I think that was the reason for it. I was overweight and having panic attacks etc..
You suggested the IUD and I believe you said that I was the 1st patient you had given it to.Anyhow I did not need medication and lost weight after coming off the pill, but became pregnant and lost the baby at 5mths due to the IUD being connected to the cord.
I always remember your compassion and asking me “how hubby was” and talking about your interest in Psychyiatry.Congratulations on achieving your goals….
I am now 60 and in a 31 year second relationship with 29 year old twins and have never needed those “pills” again after coming off The Pill.
Thanks so much for your kindness when I needed it..

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