Lake Alice

   Introduction       The Trials of Lake Alice       Documents (Downloads)   


Lake Alice is a story from my nursing career. Recently I have been affected by the corruption, incompetence, and dishonesty I have experienced during the last 5yrs as I have progressed through the disciplinary processes of the Nursing Council of New Zealand. I wish to share those experiences with a view to bringing about change for the better in the Governance of my Profession of Nursing. I will write nothing that I can’t substantiate and evidence on this site, although I much prefer talking face to face. It is my hope that my writings will be provocative and controversial enough to burst the bubble of apathy within my profession…. and stimulate open honest debate in a safe convivial environment…. where real issues facing 21st century Aotearoa will be planned and provided for.

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The Trials of Lake Alice.

The recently released Confidential Forum report to the Mental Health Commission refers to Lake Alice Adolescent Unit and the things that happened there .It does so in the context of cruelty and abuse occuring in other Psychiatric Hospitals, such as forced administration of medication, physical and sexual assault, forced restraint, and the general dehumanisation often the hallmark of such institutions. The long term effects such treatment had on the lives of many people and their families are fully acknowledged, as are issues of compensation, some of which are ongoing. Like all such institutions the abusers by no means represent all staff in such places. The good work of dedicated doctors and nurses, shackled by inept managers, in a system without judicious and professional complaint procedures, is also fully acknowledged. I found this expansive report well-balanced and accurate. It paints a complete picture of a flawed system of health care, clearly identifying major deficits and causative factors. It leaves NZ with an historical reference point, and clear indicators for quality mental health care in the future.

  • In the adolescent unit at Lake Alice a psychiatrist did as he wished whilst being accountable to nobody.
  • This arrangement of power and autonomy must be absolutely excluded from anything to do with health care. This is the particular lesson to be learnt from The Adolescent Unit.
  • The best acknowledgment of those who suffered there, the greatest tribute to those who survive, and the best commemoration of those that didn’t, is so to respect the gift of their history.

I experienced this arrangement In English Psychiatric Hospitals in the mid-sixties, before I came to New Zealand.

Forty years later I experience that same arrangement in the higher echolons of Nursing and Medicine today.

I leave my personal testament about the Lake Alice Adolescent Unit in the hope it will contribute to keeping our national history of Mental Health Care alive….. to be remembered.

1.( Letters: Grant Cameron and Associates )
2. ( Lake Alice Statement )
3. ( Dr.Leeks Extradition Investigation )

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