A mental health patient in crisis recently waited 13 hours to be seen at Wellington
Hospital's emergency department, sparking calls to improve emergency mental health
Another person in mental distress spent five hours in a police cell awaiting assessment,
having tried and failed to contact the manager of the health board's crisis assessment
Both cases breached government targets, which state Emergency Department
patients should be seen within six hours. A 2015 agreement between Police and the Ministry of Health was supposed to end police detention of mental health patients.
Capital and Coast DHB mental health manager Nigel Fairley says the ED patient's 13-hour
wait occurred at an unusually busy time and the DHB investigated and apologised. The DHB had since increased the number of specialised mental health staff available in the ED.
Mr Fairley says during the past three months, mental health patients in ED waited on
average 4.5 hours.