Waikato Police have confirmed that they will not be prosecuting the Waikato District Health Board, or any individuals, over the circumstances surrounding the death of Nicholas Stevens.
The Health Board has now immediately restarted its own internal serious event review of the death, which had to be put on hold last year following the announcement of the criminal police investigation.
Nicholas Stevens was an inpatient at the DHB’s Henry Rongomau Bennett Centre at Waikato Hospital campus in March 2015.
Waikato DHB CEO Dr Nigel Murray said: “I am pleased that the police concluded that there should be no criminal charges in this matter and that staff have been exonerated. Clearly there will be lessons to be learned and I am thankful that we can progress our own internal review now that the police investigation is over.
Dr Murray said the review panel, headed by the DHB’s Director of Quality and Patient Safety Ms Mo Neville, will include external mental health professionals as well as an independent lay person. The family will be included during the review process and any material that the DHB provided to the police will also be part of the review.
He said: “The recent Ministry of Health’s Inspection report into our Mental Health and Addiction Services described our services as ‘well managed and led’ and that while there were areas for improvement we ‘provide a good standard of care.’
“There has been a lot of work done since 2015 to improve our mental health and addiction services including improving our AWOL (Absence Without Leave) procedures, an increase in staffing, and a changed management structure with a new Executive Director for Mental Health and Addictions Service. We are also developing a plan to build a new facility to replace the Henry Rongomau Bennett Centre.
“If our own review identifies any shortcomings regarding our care of Nicholas then we will take full responsibility for these, and take the appropriate corrective action.
“Once again I extend my deepest condolences to the Stevens family as I know this has been a lengthy, painful process. We have always been committed to concluding our review as promptly as possible to provide service improvement and some closure for the family.