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Report on an announced targeted inspection of Te Puna Waiora, Taranaki Base Hospital

Peter Boshier
Issue date:


Ombudsmen are designated as one of the National Preventive Mechanisms (NPMs) under the Crimes of Torture Act 1989 (COTA), with responsibility for examining and monitoring the conditions and treatment of patients detained in secure units within New Zealand hospitals.

My role is to form an independent opinion as to the conditions and treatment in these places, report my observations and if necessary make recommendations for improvement.

From 29 September 2021 a team of two inspectors – whom I have authorised to carry out visits to places of detention under the COTA on my behalf – made an announced two-day inspection to Te Puna Waiora.


The Unit is an acute inpatient mental health unit, at Taranaki Base Hospital in New Plymouth.

The Unit has an Intensive Psychiatric Care Unit (Rimu) for those presenting a high risk to themselves or others, and adult inpatient beds in an open area of the Unit (Nikau).

The Unit also has psychogeriatric beds (Kowhai) for people aged over 65 with a mental health or dementia type disorder. Due to the targeted nature of the inspection, the conditions and treatment of people using the psychogeriatric beds at the time of the visit is not addressed in this report.

At the time of this inspection, the Unit was operating at COVID-19 Alert Level 3. For this reason, the inspection was shorter and more focused than a full inspection, and this is why it is referred to as a ‘targeted inspection’.

As a result of my inspection, I made six recommendations to the Unit, two recommendations to Te Whatu Ora, and four recommendations jointly to Te Whatu Ora and the Unit.

Feedback process

At the time of this inspection, the Unit was under the management of the Taranaki District Health Board (the DHB). Where appropriate, recommendations are made to Health New Zealand – Te Whatu Ora, as the responsible agency at the time of finalising this report. 

The Unit, DHB, and the Ministry of Health received a copy of my provisional report and were invited to comment. The Unit and DHB provided a combined response, acknowledging the report and noting the provisional recommendations, adding no further comment. The Ministry of Health responded and their comments are have been taken into account in finalising this report. I am grateful for the time taken to consider my provisional report.

The final report was provided to the Unit, Health New Zealand - Te Whatu Ora and the Ministry of Health in July 2023.

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