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February 2021

In this issue:

Kia ora koutou

Morag McDowell, Health and Disability CommissionerWelcome to the first HDC newsletter of 2021.

Earlier this month, the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Act came into force. This means that the new Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission has taken on the Mental Health Commissioner’s monitoring and advocacy function for mental health and addiction services, as part of its broader wellbeing role.

I’d like to extend a huge thank you to outgoing Mental Health Commissioner Kevin Allan, who has made a remarkable contribution in his five years in the role, and who along with his team has been working closely with the new Commission to ensure a smooth transition. Kevin will stay on at HDC as Deputy Commissioner until the end of June.

Kevin and I were pleased to attend a pōwhiri earlier this month to welcome the new Commission. You can read more about the transition, and the critical challenges that remain in transforming Aotearoa’s approach to mental health and addiction, in this newsletter.

In this issue, we also share details of some useful new video resources for consumers with intellectual disabilities, and you can read HDC’s analysis of complaints involving DHBs from January to June 2020. This was a time at which the sector was under extreme pressure owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the report includes a summary of consumers’ concerns during the restrictions.  

I hope you find the newsletter an informative read.  We welcome your feedback – please contact communications@hdc.org.nz if there’s something you’d like to share with us.

Ngā mihi
 
Morag McDowell, Health and Disability Commissioner

HDC welcomes new Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission

On 9 February, the new Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission opened its doors and took over responsibility for monitoring mental health and addiction services, and advocating for improvements.

The outgoing Mental Health Commissioner Kevin Allan strongly supports the establishment of the new Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission. It will play a broad role providing oversight of mental health and wellbeing, and will hold Government and other decision-makers to account.
 
READ MORE

Consumers with disabilities

HDC’s work for people who use disability services contributes to better, safer, and more equitable care. Deputy Commissioner, Disability Rose Wall works to increase awareness among disabled consumers about their rights under the Code, and ensure HDC is accessible and responsive to all people.

Recently, HDC and the Nationwide Health and Disability Advocacy Service released a series of videos to help people with learning disabilities think about their own experiences with using disability services, and their rights under the Code.
 
READ MORE

Complaints to HDC involving DHBs 

HDC’s report and analysis of complaints about DHBs received between January-June 2020 is now available on our website.

This was a period of extreme pressure on the healthcare sector, as the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions came into force. The report includes consumers’ concerns during the restrictions, and trends that appeared across complaints related to COVID-19 issues.

Lack of access to services became the most commonly complained about primary issue over this period. Access to healthcare was deferred for many people during the COVID-19 restrictions, as people stayed away from health services and non-urgent care was postponed.
 
READ THE FULL REPORT

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