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Coroner Recommends Respite Care Review After Man's Suicide

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Jan 10 NZPA - A Wellington coroner has recommended Hutt Valley District Health Board (DHB) review its respite care facilities after a local man who was denied care killed himself.

Jerome Peter Perez, 40, was found dead by his second wife on March 28, 2008.

Mrs Perez found her husband's body at his Lower Hutt home after he failed to pick up his youngest son from school.

The couple had recently separated and were living apart.

In a report released today by Wellington Regional Coroner Ian Smith, Mrs Perez said Mr Perez had a tense relationship with his family and been denied access to his eldest child.

He also had a history of depression and bi-polar.

Mrs Perez said her husband had been refused respite care.

"Respite care was absolutely vital. We said we'd pay for it, we do not care -- it was not about the money, it was about the need for a break," she said.

Hutt Valley DHB Community Health Service consultant psychiatrist George Mathew said Mr Perez was denied respite care due to a lack of facilities.

He said more respite care would mean better care for many patients in the community.

Mr Smith said he was well aware of problems within the mental health industry.

"It will be of little comfort to Mrs Perez that the concerns raised are not unknown to me and I continue to try and raise these concerns to the mental health personnel in order to see that these types of concerns are eliminated," he said.

"The root of the problem in being able to do that naturally is finance to be able to provide sufficient trained medical expertise and accommodation."

Mr Smith recommended the DHB review its respite care facilities to ensure it could meet demand and patients were not turned away.

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