Indepth: Why can’t Canterbury get the help it needs?


For the past two months, CTV has delved into the post-quake mental health crisis facing Canterbury.

This final video looks at the question, why can’t Canterbury get the help it needs?

The conditions hospital staff work in have been called ‘crap’. Mental health service provision is under such stress it is now ‘starting to do harm’ to the population. Hospital bosses have pointed to  ‘service failure’ — people are not getting the care they need.

Here are the facts:

  • There has been a 100 per cent increase in demand on children and young people specialist mental health services — that is 450 extra people per month.
  • A 59 per cent increase for the adult specialist mental health services — 700 extra people a month.
  • Of people in mental health crisis presenting to the emergency department, a 125 per cent increase — 1500 extra assessments a month.
  • The CDHB has estimated it needs $2.96m in the 2018/2019 financial year, growing to $6m in the following two years just to cover service gaps and unmet needs in mental health.
  • Hospital workers are operating in 14 facilities that are earthquake damaged.
  • Chief executive David Meates says: ‘. . . it’s remarkable our health system hasn’t imploded’

At the centre of the answer is the relationship between the C DHB and Ministry of Health.

In a document released today ‘The Way Forward’ the relationship was described as ‘pathetic’. But with key people moving on, the parties have formed a review group to find a resolution.

‘At the heart of the current poor relationship issues are the very different perspectives about the costs of dealing with the health impacts of the Canterbury earthquakes, and, importantly, what these costs continue to be today and into the future,” said the report.

We asked straight-talking CDHB member Jo Kane to answer the question, with Mental Health Advocacy and Peer Support’s  Fiona Clapham Howard and Youth 298’s Dr Sue Bagshaw discussing the flow on effect to the non-government sector, while PSA union organiser Antony Rimell looks at the huge stress workers are under.