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Welfare Reform on the Web (April 2000): Social Care - Overseas

UNHEALTHY ACTS: INTERPRETING NARRATIVES OF COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH CARE IN WAIKATO, NEW ZEALAND

A. E. Joseph
Health and Social Care in the Community, vol 7, 1999, p. 1-8.

Media reports were used to construct a narrative of the community outcomes of the impending closure of Tokanui Hospital in the Waikato region. Argue that the effective implementation of community care has been hampered by the lack of a concerted policy in the mental health sector, by a fiscal squeeze on the healthcare system, and by the impact of non-healthcare legislation on the local management and expression of community care. In Waikato, some administrative practices have recast people with mental health problems as criminals and established prisons as the site of treatment. It is concluded that the media in New Zealand act as a reflexive conduit; journalists interpret issues and through their stories help shape the course of events.

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