It will be March before the Government formally responds to the 40 recommendations contained in the Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry report handed over today, says Health Minister Dr David Clark.

The Panel chair and team handed over the 200 page report today – 10 months after the scope of inquiry and panel were first announced in response to growing public and health professional concerns about the crisis in mental health services.

Panel chair Ron Paterson said the panel was confident that the report reflected the Inquiry’s extensive consultation process which included 26 public forums, hundreds of meetings and 5200 submissions.

Clark said the report was a “substantial and considered piece of work” which would take the Government time to fully digest along with its 40 recommendations. He thanked the chair and panel who said had at times heard “confronting and challenging stories” during the Inquiry process.

The Government is to release the Inquiry report before the end of the year but will not formally respond to the report and recommendations until March next year. “That will allow us to take some important decisions in time for the Wellbeing Budget in 2019 – although it will clearly take more than one Budget to address all the issues raised in the report.”

Paterson said each phase of the inquiry had been “intense and challenging” and he thanked the thousands of people who turned up at meetings from Kaitaia to Invercargil and also fellow panel members Sir Mason Durie, Dr Barbara Disley, Dean Rangihuna, Dr Jemaima Tiatia-Seath and Josiah Tualamali’I plus the inquiry support team.

“All of us have worked together closely and shared a determination to fulfil the expectations of so many people – to realise this ‘once in a generation’ opportunity,” said Paterson.

“We are confident our report reflects the voices we’ve heard and sets a clear direction for the future – pathways to wellness – that government, the sector and communities can pick up and implement.”  He said it now looked forward to the release of the report and the Government’s response to its recommendations.

TIMELINE

October 19 2017 New Labour-led Government comes into being and amongst ‘First 100 Days’ priorities is a ministerial inquiry into mental health services
January 23 2018 Government releases scope of Mental Health and Addictions Inquiry
April 27 2018Inquiry consultation document released
May 18 2018First Government Budget indicates mental health funding gaps and policy initiatives identified by Inquiry will be addressed in 2019-20 Budget
October 9 2018Health minister grants panel one monthe for report to November 30
November 3 2018Finance Minister Grant Robertson says next year’s Budget will have special emphasis on mental health.
November 28 2018Inquiry panel hands over report to Minister of Health

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