National says the Government’s decision to scrap a pilot improving emergency mental health call responses is ‘disgraceful’.
The $8 million pilot devised under the previous Government, would have seen a mental health worker attend all crisis calls along with police and paramedics.
Police spokesperson Chris Bishop says police spend 280 hours a day responding to mental health calls, and they just aren’t equipped to cope with them.
He says this pilot could have been a game changer and instead the Government is taking a step backwards.
Both police and mental health experts supported and were looking forward to this pilot starting, Bishop claims.
The pilot was one of 17 initiatives that formed part of a $100 million mental health package announced by the former National government and was set to be trialled in several regions across the country over three years – including in Auckland, Christchurch, Palmerston North and Horowhenua.
The Government, however, is rebutting any claim they have axed the pilot – instead saying there never was one.
Health Minister Dr David Clark says the pilot was never fully developed by the National government.
He says the proposal, along with most of the other 16 floated at the time, was hurriedly cobbled together, and funding wasn’t appropriated to it.
Source: Newstalk ZB