Health law expert to head ministerial inquiry

05 February 2018
Ron Paterson

Professor Ron Paterson from the Auckland Law School has been appointed by the Government to head a Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction. 

The catalyst for the inquiry has been ongoing widespread concern about mental health services, within the mental health sector and the broader community. 

The former Health and Disability Commissioner will chair the six-person inquiry team consisting of Dr Barbara Disley, Sir Mason Durie, Dean Rangihuna, Dr Jemaima Tiatia-Seath, and Josiah Tualamali'i.

The team will be supported by a Lived Experience Advisory Group and a Youth Advisory Group.

The Government committed to setting up an inquiry into mental health as part of its first 100 days’ work programme.

The terms of reference focus on equity of access to quality services and better outcomes, particularly for Maori and other groups with disproportionally poorer outcomes.

The inquiry team will hear submissions from across the country, before reporting back to the Government by the end of October with its findings and opinions, together with recommendations of ways to prevent mental health and addiction problems, and respond to the needs of people with those problems.

Professor Paterson is Chair of the New Zealand Centre for Human Rights Law, Policy & Practice Advisory Board. He was Parliamentary Ombudsman (2013–2016), Health and Disability Commissioner (2000–2010) and Deputy Director-General, Safety and Regulation, Ministry of Health (1999–2000).

He is recognised internationally for his expertise in patients’ rights, regulation of health practitioners and healthcare quality improvement. He has chaired several major health system reviews in both Australia and New Zealand, and was a member of the Board of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (2010–2013). Professor Paterson was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to health, in 2011.