The Ministry of Health has expedited the release of updated mental health data and collated publicly available information in one place to make it easier for people to understand the performance of the mental health and addiction system.
Director-General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, said the Ministry of Health is committed to ensuring the highest level of transparency across all its programmes.
“A key part of ensuring transparency is providing data and information in a timely way and we work hard to do this,” Dr Ashley Bloomfield said.
“The breadth of information about people accessing mental health and addiction services, and the performance of those services, is significant. That’s why we’ve collated the various pieces of publicly available data into a new area of the Ministry’s website so people can find the information in one place.”
The annual reports of the Office of the Director of Mental Health and Addiction Services, which focuses on how existing mental health and addiction legislation is applied, are included in the new area of the website.
“We have heard feedback on the delay in publishing the latest annual reports from the office. We accept that we should have let the sector know earlier about the delay to the publication of the 2018 information and the changes to the content."
“Based on the feedback we received, we have expedited the collation of data related to section 132 of the Mental Health Act and made it publicly available on the website as part of the new information hub.”
The section 132 data relates to deaths while being assessed or treated under the Mental Health Act.
Deputy Director-General Mental Health and Addiction, Toni Gutschlag, said the data required manual analysis, which hadn’t been completed when the rest of the offices’ annual report was ready for publication.
“We wanted to publish the information we had to prevent further delays, intending to publish the additional information as an addendum to the report,” Toni Gutschlag said.
“We acknowledge the concerns about delays and I am pleased we’ve been able to make this additional data available as soon as possible.”
Toni Gutschlag said the Ministry would continue improving how it collates, analyses and shares information.
“Our intention is always to provide information in a useful and accessible way. We are committed to ensuring the release of this data is timely, while also publishing the information in efficient formats – these will increasingly take the form of digital updates rather than written publications to help ensure more timely access for everyone.”