Dear Dave, Jane and Tony
Thank you for your email and letter describing your concerns at the fact we have not had an opportunity to talk.
As I have previously conveyed, I extend to you my deepest personal condolences at the tragic loss of your son.
While we cannot fully comprehend what you are going through as a family, all of the Waikato DHB staff associated with this case are extremely upset by it.
There has already been a great deal of contact between yourselves and the Waikato DHB, including staff at a senior level. But thanks for the suggestion that you and I should now talk. I would very much like to do so.
I recommend that we meet to establish a common understanding of recent events including the decision to undertake an external review of mental health services.
I would also like to explain why we do things in the way we do them, and to provide reassurance that our internal review which includes independent experts, will be transparent and thorough.
Emailed Thursday 9 April 6.15pm
Earlier statement from Nigel Murray 4 April
As chief executive, I wish to give my personal deepest condolences to the family of Nicholas Stevens regarding this extremely tragic event and I recognise the extremely difficult times they are going through.
We have commissioned a review in accordance with the standard protocols of the Ministry of Health using an international standard. We have asked the Director of Mental Health Services to give us advice on an independent psychiatrist and mental health nurse to participate in that.
We will keep the family well informed as part of this process. They will receive regular updates and the draft report before it is finalised. We will meet with them anytime that they feel that they would like to meet with us as well as keep them regularly informed.
We will be interviewing the family to seek their counsel and advice as part of the formal process. There are additional processes such as the coroner’s court that deal with matters in a judicial way. There is also another approach through the Health and Disability Commissioner, which we strongly encourage the family to take.
I am absolutely committed to transparency of this process. We want to reveal exactly what happened and what lessons we can learn from this to improve mental health services. There is always opportunity for service delivery improvement.
Dr Nigel Murray