Gareth Hughes is being vocal over the housing arrangements of Ashley Peacock.
It has cost the public healthcare system about $750,000 in the past year to manage Ashley Peacock, an autistic man whose isolation has sparked human rights concerns.
The Capital & Coast District Health Board (CCDHB) confirmed the spending before a parliamentary health select committee on Wednesday.
Peacock, who is a compulsory patient under the Mental Health Act, is an intellectually disabled, autistic and mentally ill man who has spent the past five years in at a Porirua facility, spending up to 23 hours a day in his isolation wing.
Agencies, including the Human Rights Commission, have raised concerns about his treatment, with the United Nations funding its review of the use of seclusion in New Zealand.
CCDHB chief executive Debbie Chin confirmed the board shouldered most of the cost of Peacock’s care, with Tairawhiti DHB contributing $183,000.
Horrendous costs, but what are the alternatives?
Green MP Gareth Hughes asked clinician Susanna Every-Palmer about Peacock spending the past five years in isolation.
“There has been a bit of a narrative about this, and it’s simply not true,” she replied.
“He is not in isolation. He is not in seclusion, and I think we have to be aware of that because a lot of the commentary has focused on that.”
So the media and opposition MPs have over cooked this issue?
Every-Palmer, who is not Peacock’s doctor, but has worked with his family and carers, said he was a “high-risk” patient with complex needs.
A pathway to community care was a “goal” – but that transition would have to factor in his own, and the public’s safety, Every-Palmer said.
The DHB’s written response to the Greens’ select committee questions outlined that its reasons for continuing to hold him as an inpatient under the Mental Health Act was because his psychotic illness was resistant to treatment, and he was assessed as being at a very high risk of harm to others.
But Gareth Hughes is pushing for him to be released.
While the costs are incredible it is obvious that this bloke is a real danger to society.
So, not one to complain without proposing a solution, I have a solution.
He can live with Gareth Hughes…or the judge who releases him.
I think that would be a great law change to make, the person who advocates for his release gets to live with him…same with judges releasing scumbags on bail…bail them to the judges house.
I think we’d find the issues quietly die.