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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 13 Hansard (28 November) . . Page.. 4768 ..


thus increasing transparency by reporting to government about conditions and concerns they identify.

The report identifies that the primary concern raised by official visitors during the reporting period has been the acuity, demand and subsequent impacts on services at the crisis end of the service system and the related challenge of suitable exit points for mental health consumers. The report also notes occupational and consumer-on-consumer violence as a significant concern within the mental health service system.

The ACT government is aware of the challenges being faced in the acute mental health system. The demands on the mental health system are well known and my response as the minister is that we are strategically planning and working to address some of these issues for a variety of projects and pathways. These include the trial of a patient flow coordinator to support management of demand for inpatient beds across the public health system, a dedicated consultant psychiatrist in the emergency department of Canberra Health Services, and the creation of a five-bed subacute pod located in the adult rehabilitation unit at the University of Canberra hospital to better utilise capacity at the University of Canberra Hospital. This setting provides care in a less restrictive environment than the adult mental health unit and provides patients with additional options for suitable exit points.

The creation of a four-bed area within ward 7B at Canberra Hospital has also contributed to reducing some of the pressure and demands in the mental health system. This ward is suitable for and can accommodate patients with physical health conditions that are concurrent to their mental illness. To meet the demand issues we face, a key component is to increase our non-acute beds to help avoid a person requiring acute care.

At a whole-of-system level, investment has been made in infrastructure such as the south side step up, step down unit which provides additional support for people to live in their community. The objective of this investment is to divert people from a hospital admission and provide less restrictive care in a community-based environment. This is a leading priority for any mental health system.

Across the board, mental health services provide consistent high quality care for patients seeking treatment, and I am pleased to report that the official visitors receive very high praise for the staff and support at the facilities. Mental health systems rely on these highly skilled and caring individuals, and I commend these workers for their effort and ongoing commitment to patient care.

In accordance with my obligations under the Mental Health Act I commend the report to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Unit Titles Legislation Amendment Bill 2019

Mr Gentleman, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.


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