Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Henry Rongomau Bennett Centre - Lunatics running the asylum:

If the regional mental health facility, the Henry Rongomau Bennett Centre, wasn’t already a circus, it soon will be when ringmaster and Director of Mental Health, John Crawshaw send’s in the clowns for another token inspection to ascertain why this service is failing so miserably.

And what a dismal track record this outfit has.

In 2010 Christine Morris scaled the security fence and bludgeoned her neighbour, Diane White, to death. Coroner Peter Ryan recommended that the DHB erect a higher fence, Clinical Director of the Henry Bennet Centre, Rees Tapsell refused.

In 2013, it was reported that psychiatrist Paul Fox, who had been de-registered in the USA for sexual misconduct, and was the former clinician for the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass murderer Adam Lanza was employed by the DHB. Fox was de-registered in NZ by the Medical Council in February 2014.

In March 2015 Nicky Stevens, known to be suicidal, was allowed to leave the wards for an unsupervised cigarette break, despite the families’ pleas to keep him safe. Nicky’s body was recovered from the Waikato River three days later.

The following month two patients with a history of violence scaled the security fence and fled the city.

More recently it was discovered that a man gained employment with Waikato Mental Health Services posing as a psychiatrist. Mohamed Shakeel Siddiqui has been arrested and charged with obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception.

It certainly is quite a pitiful rap sheet for a service designed to care for and protect a very vulnerable group within the community.

Should we really be surprised though? Are the lunatics in fact running the asylum? It seems so;
In addition to the dubious hiring practices highlighted by the examples above, one member of staff who understands forensic Mental Health treatment first hand is Peer Support Worker Trudi Tapsell, yes sister of Clinical Director Rees Tapsell.

She was once a special patient herself, detained under the Mental Health Act. Ms Tapsell, as a 26 year old, was found not guilty by reason of insanity of the brutal murder of her grandmother, whose decapitated body was found wrapped in plastic bags in a freezer, her head was found in a rubbish bag nearby. Ms Tapsell, with the help of her brother, has now moved on from being the patient to being the clinician, working with a very vulnerable group of people.

Clearly her current employers know her background (given it is a family affair), but considering she carries no conviction for the murder of her grandmother, because Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity is an acquittal of sorts, is it not appropriate that in the interests of transparency and trust, the patients she works with, and their families, know her background?

One would think so, although unfortunately this is not the case.

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