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The Star: April 13, 2017

14 Thursday

14 Thursday April 13 2017 Latest Christchurch news at www. .kiwi The Star News Sex worker dispute could go to court • By Andrew King A DISPUTE over sex workers being able to solicit in a residential area could be tested in the courts, a Christchurch lawyer said. St Albans resident Matt Bonis, along with solicitor and Labour candidate for Christchurch Central Duncan Webb presented a slide show to the city council detailing the rubbish, abuse, complaints and threats they have received. Mr Webb told Star.kiwi the dispute lies in the definition of “commercial activity” set out in the city council public places bylaw. City council head of strategic policy Helen Beaumont said sex workers do not use the billboards and banners that are typical of other business enterprises. But Mr Webb said they have got the definition “wrong” and the city council could enforce the bylaw. He said if it comes down to residents saying it is commercial activity, and the city council says it isn’t, then it will have to be tested in the courts. Fighting patients test health staff • By Gabrielle Stuart MENTAL HEALTH staff say they are struggling to control fighting between patients in their wards. It comes as 775 assaults on Canterbury District Health Board staff were reported last year, an average of two a day, including 236 assaults at Hillmorton Hospital. Toni Gutschlag The demand for mental health services has also grown, with the acute inpatient ward almost constantly full in January and February. Speaking at a CDHB committee meeting last week, specialist mental health services general manager Toni Gutschlag said the situation was becoming “volatile.” She said an “escalation meeting” had been planned with the Ministry of Health this week to discuss the problem. “Right now we’ve got major dynamics where patients are not getting on, and seeking one another out to harm each other,” she said. She said that was made more difficult because the mental health wards were small and were at full capacity most of the time. That made it very difficult to separate violent patients, she said. “If they don’t have enough space to get away from each other, the situation becomes more volatile,” she said. She said mental health services were also struggling to recruit staff, and had “a number of vacancies and workforce gaps.” Last month, New Zealand Nurses Organisation chief executive Memo Musa raised concerns that inexperienced staff were being placed in situations “they are not able to handle” because funding was inadequate and senior staff had left. Mental health problems seem to have particularly grown for Canterbury children and youth, with the number of new cases up 55 per cent over the past three years. The number of Canterbury children or youth accessing mental health services grew from 626 in January to 714 in February. The situation was made worse by a number of people with disabilities being “inappropriately placed” in mental health services because there were no community disability services appropriate for them, a report on the issue said. Easter 2017 Friday 14 April CLOSED Saturday 15 April Sunday 16 April Monday 17 April Open 10am–5pm CLOSED Open 10am–5pm FREE CANDY STAND SATURDAY 11AM–3PM HORNBY 409 Main South Road | OVER 50 STORES dress-smart.co.nz

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