Chief Ombudsman commences two investigations into the Ministry of Health and its services for people with intellectual disabilities
Office of the Ombudsman | February 14, 2019
The Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier has launched investigations into the Ministry of Health’s oversight of facilities and services for intellectually disabled people with high and complex needs.
Mr Boshier says the ability of the Ministry to resource, coordinate and plan services will come under the microscope.
‘I will consider the capacity of the health system to meet the needs of some of society’s most vulnerable people.’
‘I am aware at times there is a shortage of beds. This has meant some people have faced lengthy delays before being assessed as ordered by the courts. I will also consider whether some have been unlawfully detained in prison or other unsuitable places because there has been nowhere else for them to go.’
The Ministry contracts five District Health Boards to provide forensic intellectual disability services. The DHBs provide around 66 secure hospital beds nationwide.
‘My investigation will look at whether the facilities are adequate for those referred by the courts for assessment as well as for long-term clients, women and youth. I will also look at how much workforce planning is being done to make sure there are enough appropriately trained staff.’
Mr Boshier says he is conducting a separate investigation into the quality of the data collected by the Ministry relating to the deaths of intellectually disabled people in forensic and residential care.
 The term ‘intellectual disability' is used to refer to people with high and complex support needs, who in many cases may also be living with multiple impairments. Other people and agencies may prefer the terms ‘learning disability’ or ‘tangata whaikaha hinengaro’. Please consult the FAQs for further discussion of these terms.