Stop the privatisation of the mental health sector

“To the Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman,

We call on you to stop the use of ‘social bonds’ in the mental health sector. We don’t want our most vulnerable citizens to be the subjects of this unproven experiment. Instead, we call on you to commit to more government funding to mental health treatment and support directly.”

Will you sign?

10,000 signatures
“Our concern is that as we have seen in other areas profit becomes the primary motivation of funders, not optimal care.”
Kyle MacDonald BA; MHSc(Hons.) Public Issues Chair for New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists

The Government is set to give private investors the opportunity to invest in and make money from social services, beginning with mental health services. [1]

These so called ‘social bonds’ the Government are using to privatise the mental health sector by stealth have failed around the world. The mental health sector doesn’t need experiments -- it needs more direct funding from the Government.

In this years Budget, the Government has set aside $28.8m for paying out on ‘social bonds’ which will first focus on getting people with mental health conditions into employment.While this may sound like a good objective, experience overseas has shown that it carries risks such as people being pushed into work prematurely, and regardless of whether it suits their individual needs. [2]

How will the scheme work?

Social service providers and NGOs will be asked to team up with private investors to carry out their work. Later, that money is reimbursed to the investor by the Government, with interest, if the organisation meets specified performance targets. This can lead to perverse incentives, where for example only “easy” clients are taken on, or organisations “game” the system. In New Zealand, we have already seen examples of this, where to achieve elective surgery targets District Health Boards were discovered having removed people from waiting lists creating a situation where individual health outcomes were made worse, but the target was achieved. [3]

Experts, allies and advocates throughout New Zealand are speaking up to say issuing social bonds for mental health services risks being an unfortunate experiment undertaken with society's most vulnerable. [4]

Sign the petition to tell the Minister of Health that we don’t want our mental health sector privatised with this risky experiment.

~ References ~
  1. ‘Driving social change through profit?’ Radio NZ
  2. ‘The cost of caring’, Kyle MacDonald
  3. ‘Memo reveals secret waiting list’, NZ Herald
  4. ‘Social bonds: dangerous experiment or better services?’, Radio NZ

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