Investigations launched into Ministry of Health's care for people with intellectual disabilities

The Ombudsman is launching two investigations into the Ministry of Health's handling of people with intellectual disabilities.

One will look into the quality of the data collected on the deaths of people with intellectual disabilities under District Health Boards (DHB) care.

Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier told Newshub information is needed to identify where improvements can be made.

"The next step is to look at the nature of care facilities resourcing and what that might have led to in terms of consequence."

Another investigation will look into facilities and service, which Mr Boshier said will help better understand pressure points within the system.

"There are a number of people with intellectual disabilities that are not, in our view, subject to really good treatment and results."

The Ministry of Health contracts five DHBs to provide forensic intellectual disability services. They provide 66 hospital beds nationwide.

Mr Boshier said in a statement on Thursday night a shortage of the beds had led to bad outcomes.

"Some people have faced lengthy delays before being assessed as ordered by the courts," he said.

"I will also consider whether some have been unlawfully detained in prison or other unsuitable places because there has been nowhere else for them to go."

Mr Boshier told Newshub the investigations are vital to protect disability rights.

"There's... a real role for the Ombudsman looking at matters that affect vulnerable New Zealanders"