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More rigorous monitoring of New Zealand’s dementia units a step in the right direction

08 June 2018

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists welcomes the New Zealand Government’s announcement that the Office of the Ombudsman will soon carry out inspections of privately run dementia units.

The Ombudsman will now have the power to monitor and investigate privately run dementia units with locked facilities where people are contained because of their vulnerability.

‘The RANZCP has long called for greater scrutiny of residential aged care facilities, especially privately run dementia units,’ the RANZCP Chair of the New Zealand Faculty for Psychiatry of Old Age, Dr Bharathan said.

‘Older people living with dementia are an extremely vulnerable population, unable to advocate for themselves and their needs. It is also important that people with dementia have their ultimate wishes considered and acted upon.

‘We are aware of some secure dementia units that are not adequately catering for the needs of their residents by limiting their access to outdoor space for recreation. We know that having access to gardens improves residents’ health and wellbeing.

‘The RANZCP considers the monitoring of service delivery in dementia units is an important step in ensuring that people with dementia are able to live their lives with dignity and receive the best care possible,’ Dr Bharathan said.

Dr Mark Lawrence, the RANZCP Chair of the New Zealand National Committee – Tu Te Akaaka Roa, added: ‘The RANZCP strongly supports the Ombudsman’s new mandate.

‘The increased oversight of dementia units will help improve the quality of life for people living with dementia.

‘The RANZCP looks forward to the opportunity to work with the Ombudsman in achieving this goal.’

For more information on the RANZCP’s position see our submission to the Department of Internal Affairs Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction.

ENQUIRIES: Jessica Antcliff or +61 437 315 911

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists is a membership organisation that prepares medical specialists in the field of psychiatry, supports and enhances clinical practice, advocates for people affected by mental illness and advises governments on mental health care. For information about our work, our members or our history, visit

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