Biased Govt 'Inspection' into Waikato DHB shown up by leaked Terms of Reference

Biased Govt 'Inspection' into Waikato DHB shown up by leaked Terms of Reference

Dr Jonathan Coleman

Minister of Health

13 August 2015

Concern about narrowness & predetermination of Ministerial 'Inspection' of Waikato DHB Mental Health Services

Dear Minister 

We write to express our concern at the narrowness and apparent predetermination of the Inspection you have ordered into Waikato DHB’s mental health services, that is being conducted by the Director of Mental Health, Dr John Crawshaw.

We also wish to raise concerns about the process Dr Crawshaw is following with the Inspection.

 Although you stated in public at the time of ordering the inspection that our son’s death while under the legal care of Waikato DHB was one of “three” recent issues of concern, Dr Crawshaw has 

  • Refused to discuss with our family any issues of concern we have
  • Refused to provide our family with the Terms of Reference for the Inspection
  • To date not responded to our request that consultation meetings be held within the Waikato community on a wider basis than just a handful of organisation contracted by Government to provide community mental health services.

We have however been able to obtain a copy of the Terms of Reference through other means, and of particular concern to our family is the statement twice included within that document, referring to Dr Crawshaw’s intended conduct of the Inspection:

            “This will enable him to determine whether there are any systemic issues, and if there are none, to assure the public on how the services are being run.”

Nowhere in the terms of reference is there any counterbalancing statement of intended actions if the Waikato DHB’s mental health services prove to be deficient.  

We point out also that our son, Nicky Stevens, was treated extensively by another DHB-employed psychiatrist in 2013 who was shortly afterwards removed from the NZ medical register (February 2014) due to a failure to disclose his disbarment in the United States immediately prior to commencing employment with Waikato DHB.

To any reasonable person, we suggest the repeated statement above, the overall flavour of the Terms of Reference, and the unwillingness to consult with a family whose son was the victim of poor practices at Waikato DHB’s mental health facility all add up to a Ministerial-ordered legal process that falls well short of public expectations, and of the expectations that you yourself expressed when you initiated it. 

We urgently request that you require the Director of Mental Health to

  • Publish, and seek public feedback on, the Terms of Reference for the Inspection of mental health services at Waikato DHB
  • As part of the Inspection, consult respectfully with any patients, and any families of patients who have received treatment from the Waikato DHB mental health services in the last 3 years about any concerns they may have.

Yours sincerely 

Dave Macpherson

(father of Nicky Stevens)


Dave Macpherson, Jane Stevens & Tony Macpherson-Stevens

2733 River Rd, Ngaruawahia, NZ

(Postal: RD1, Taupiri, 3791)

+64 21 477 388 

_Inspection_Terms_of_Reference.pdf (Size: 18.53 KB)

Posted: Thu 13 Aug 2015


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