Dear Waikato DHB Board members – attached is a link to an article published today by Stuff in which the Director of Mental Health at the Ministry of Health, Dr John Crawshaw, made the following points in respect of smoking by inpatients at DHBs’ mental health units:
“Crawshaw said all DHBs provided mental health services and all had non-smoking policies.
However, they did have a provision to allow patients to smoke in certain areas, including outdoor spaces.
“The ministry has supported DHBs to be smokefree, but recognises they also have a commitment to ensure the safety of individuals under their care.”
For once I agree with Dr Crawshaw’s comments, which go to the heart of my proposal to the Board to ensure there is provision for Henry Bennett Centre patients to have a safe and secure area in which they can smoke.
Dr Crawshaw believes that DHBs have these provisions in place, when the information given by Waikato and Mid-Central DHBs clearly states the provision for mental health unit patients to smoke in certain areas has been removed. In fact it seems that all DHBs except for Nelson have removed these provisions.
In any event, Dr Crawshaw is quoted as saying DHBs have “a commitment to ensure the safety of individuals under their care”. It is clear that allowing patients from secure wards at HBC to go off the hospital campus, unescorted, is not fulfilling this commitment to ensure patient safety.
I ask that Board members carefully consider these points made by the Director of Mental Health.
Waikato DHB Member