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The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) is the professional association and union uniting doctors and dentists in New Zealand.

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More patients than beds at Waikato mental health inpatient unit

10 August 2018 Libby Wilson - Stuff

The Henry Rongomau Bennett Centre is so crowded that patients are sleeping on mattresses in makeshift spaces.

The mental health inpatient unit at Waikato Hospital is averaging 115 per cent occupancy, district health board members heard at a recent meeting.

“That means we have got people sleeping in places where there are no beds. On mattresses, in offices, in TV rooms,” interim chief medical officer Dr Rees Tapsell said.

“It’s very important that everybody understands what 115 per cent means.”

The centre can sleep 53, a July health board report said, but is regularly 12 or more patients over that.

Over the first half of 2018, the centre was over capacity by 667 “bed nights” – an average of about four extra patients a night in adult acute wards.

The number of people using mental health services has been rising steadily since 2015, interim executive director of mental health and addictions service Vicki Aitken said, and high demand is now the norm.

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