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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 1 Hansard (17 February) . . Page.. 378..


Health—suicides (Question No 1296)

Ms Bresnan asked the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 9 December 2010:

(1) Given that the Coroner's Court only examines the final moments in a person's life, is there any other forum that is provided by the ACT Government that examines (a) every suicide that occurs in the ACT, (b) the path to each suicide and (c) if anything could have been done differently or better to prevent each suicide.

(2) How does ACT Health use the results of those investigations to try and prevent future suicides.

Ms Gallagher: I am advised that the answer to the member's question is as follows:

(1) The ACT Government does not provide another forum that examines every suicide that occurs in the ACT.

The Coroner's Court does more than "only examine the final moments of a person's life"and does examine the "path to each suicide". The detail of this examination will vary according to the individual circumstances.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) investigates all suicides in the ACT and it is standard practice of the AFP to provide a brief on the investigation to the Coroner. The Coroner, then makes the determination if the investigation will progress to a full Inquest, sometimes this determination is based on the Coroner's decision or at the request of the family.

It is open for the Coroner to call upon expert advice and also to make recommendations about ACT Government services arising out of the coronial investigations into a suicide, including what could have been done differently or better.

All suicides and serious attempted suicides by mental health consumers, who are clients of Mental Health ACT, are reviewed through the Mental Health ACT Clinical Review Committee, which in turn makes recommendations to the Mental Health Risk Management Committee to address required system changes to prevent an incident reoccurring. Recommendations are placed in the Mental Health Recommendations Register, allocated an action officer and are reviewed three monthly until completion.

(2) ACT Health treats Coronial recommendations very seriously within its' clinical governance structures. Coronial recommendations are used to inform improvements to service quality, the progress of which is routinely monitored and reported to the Executive.

Courts—Coroner's Court (Question No 1297)

Ms Bresnan asked the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 9 December 2010:

(1) Given that on page 61 of the Department of Justice and Community Services 2009-10 annual report it shows an improvement over the last three financial years in the court


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