It’s unfair to rubbish an outfit as dysfunctional when it happens to be a kaupapa Maori service

It looks like a bunch of bureaucrats is lamentably lacking in understanding that our indigenous citizens are entitled to special treatment because they are special people.

That means any service they might provide to their indigenous kith and kin should be subject to special measurement standards. Applying the standards that apply to any similar service is simply inappropriate and may be contrary to the letter if not the spirit of The Treaty.

Accordingly it is thoroughly out of order for health officials to have written a damning report on the country’s only Kaupapa Maori intellectual disability residential care provider.

According to this report at the Herald, the officials have found the organisation is “seriously dysfunctional” and recommended urgent action to protect patients and staff.

Further insensitive details are provided in a more comprehensive report and backgrounder at Stuff.

It is unfair to our indigenous citizens, of course.

We can expect the Maori Council, Annette Sykes, Felix Geiringer and so on to be on the case already, preparing to take the matter to the Waitangi Tribunal or some such.

Mind you, the outfit in question may well be looking after non-Maori patients, and in that case there could be some confusion over whose standards should be applied.

The Herald report which alerted Alf to this matter says:

Te Roopu Taurima O Manukau, which looks after 300 intellectually disabled people in homes in Northland, Auckland, Midlands and the South Island has been strongly criticised by the Ministry of Health, citing 47 incidents over a two-year period, Radio New Zealand reported.

Those cared for by the provider have serious mental illness, challenging behaviour and some may be in secure care facilities by order of the court.

It would be astonishing to find so many patients within the ranks of Maoridom, surely.

Accordingly, there is bound to be lots of non-Maori among the 300. Yes?

And obviously those non-Maori recognise they have been put in a place intended for special people, and they are not special people, which explains why they are pretty keen to get out of the joint before they are punished for being given special treatment to which they are by no means entitled.

Seventeen have succeeded.

Between October 2010 and December 2012 there have been 47 incidents, including 17 escapes, 14 alleged assaults, two patients charged by police, a medication error, a car accident and a fire.

There were also allegations of patients being physical assaulted by other patients and staff members, and of a sexual assault between patients.

Oh, and patients apparently were not provided with the “vital clinical support they needed, although this may well be a cultural thing, and they were being given very good clinical support if they happened to be Maori.

But Alf is puzzled by the next bit of the story:

Among the organisation’s failings were prioritising growing the business rather than patient support and only investigating serious complaints.

Oh dear. That’s a sign of the company or trust or whatever being run on capitalist lines rather than kaupapa lines.

Obviously it is a mistake, because Mrs Grumble visited the Te Roopu Taurima O Manukau website, which advised her it is an accredited and certificated New Zealand kaupapa Maori service provider for intellectually disabled people.

We are a Residential Intellectual Disability Support Agency Service (RIDSAS).

Our philosophical belief is to provide people with an intellectual disability the best possible quality of life, a safe and healthy environment and support that promotes personal dignity and respect at all times.

Personal dignity and respect are very important, in Alf’s book.

Keeping the whanau in jobs is important, too.

The bureaucrats who wrote the critical report obviously did not take this into account when they said:

Problems with the recruitment, training and retention of staff lead to patients being poorly supervised, and three members of one family held managerial positions.

“There were instances when staff were placed in caregiver roles when they had little or no understanding of the job but had been hired because of cultural appropriateness,” said the report.

It recommended urgent staff training schemes, a ministry-appointed manager to oversee changes and in the long-term, a review of the Intellectual Disability Act so managers are made more accountable.

Of course, we can be totally reassured about this place after reading an item on the Te Roopu Taurima O Manukau website which refers to a feature article published about the trust by Fairfax Media, which (it says) may also be picked up by local radio stations and TV networks.

The website does not give a URL to help us track down what Fairfax said.

But it does say the article explores some serious allegations of abuse made against some staff and against the roopu toward Mokopuna back in 2011.

And it tells us what a splendid job it has done in sorting things out long ago.

At that time we conducted a full internal investigation which did result in staff being terminated. The Ministry of Health also conducted an enquiry under Section 101 of the Intellectual Disability Compulsory Care and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (IDCCR Act).

Despite the enquiry specifically focusing on whare in Auckland and more specifically in whare that support Mokopuna with high and complex needs, we have made a number of quality improvements that have been implemented across the service, nationally. These include:

An anti-abuse campaign ‘it’s not ok’ which was rolled out to all regions.

Implementation of a ‘zero tolerance’ policy on abuse to mokopuna. This means we now involve the Police immediately in any allegations and suspend staff involved while the incident is investigated. We also ensure that whanau members are contacted immediately.

A significant investment into staff training and performance monitoring, as well as minimum skill level requirements to ensure there is always an appropriate level of supervision, where needed.

Access for staff to an On-Call support service, which operates 24 hours a day and includes a regional response team and senior management backup.

The appointment of a Clinical Manager, who is dedicated to overseeing, dealing with and reporting on any critical incidents that do occur, in a timely a way.

Monthly input from psychologists who offer additional insight and expertise, as well as a multi-agency approach through closer working relationships with external partners

You can’t say fairer than that, eh?

And it’s great to see the service has kept its contract and the Ministry of Health says it will continue to work with Te Roopu Taurima.

Yep. Our special people need special treatment.

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2 Responses to It’s unfair to rubbish an outfit as dysfunctional when it happens to be a kaupapa Maori service

  1. Were it my child in one of these places, there would be- extreme consequences. Of the biblical sort.

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