30 Jun 2014

Pledge to boost mental health services

10:14 pm on 30 June 2014

Mental health services in Canterbury are set to get a $1 million boost if the Labour Party is elected to government.

Annette King.

Annette King. Photo: LABOUR PARTY

Health spokesperson Annette King on Monday afternoon announced that the party would invest in the region's health system to help people dealing with ongoing health impacts of the recent damaging earthquakes.

Ms King says nearly four years on, people in Canterbury are still struggling with after-effects.

"For example, there's been a 20 percent in referrals for mental health services and something like a 40 percent rise in referral of young people with mental health issues."

Ms King said the funding would be available for three years and then may be given again if need be.

Labour would double the number of nurses working in the district health board's schools-based mental health team and invest $12.5 million in new health hubs in Rangiora and Akaroa, she said.

But Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne said Labour's proposal of an extra $1 million is a drop in the bucket when compared with what the Government is contributing towards mental health in the region.

Mr Dunne said the Government is putting just over $144 million into the Canterbury District Health Board this year.

The mental services manager for Pegasus Health, Cerina Altenburg, said more resources are not a silver bullet and one step can be simply spending the existing funding better.

The general election will be held on 20 September.