Page 3687 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 23 November 2022

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Canberra Hospital—Adult Mental Health Unit

MR COCKS: My question is to the Minister for Mental Health. Minister, around 12.10 am on 13 November, there were reports of an alleged assault at Canberra’s adult mental health unit, a place where people should be able to turn when they need acute mental health support—a place where some of my friends have sought support when they have been at their lowest.

That altercation resulted in a man’s death. Subsequently, your office offered to brief me and the shadow health minister, but, regrettably, you did not allow any briefing on the incident itself, so I am forced to ask here and now the question the community needs an answer to. Minister, what are you doing right now to ensure a tragic incident like this never happens again?

MS DAVIDSON: Thank you for the question. My deepest sympathies go out to the families of those who were impacted by the event in question there on 13 November. ACT Policing was notified of the death immediately, and I am unable to provide any specific detail related to the incident because it is an ongoing police investigation. This is something I explained to Mr Cocks during the briefing, when he was asking quite specific questions about the incident itself. That is, unfortunately, something I am not able to discuss in detail while there is an ongoing police investigation happening.

An internal review has been conducted, as we discussed with Mr Cocks and Ms Castley during that briefing, and there is no indication to suggest that policies and procedures were not followed, and there are no immediate issues related to patient care or the safety of patients and staff.

A comprehensive investigation using a root cause analysis methodology, and an independent external lead, will commence in the coming weeks. That is appropriate when we are talking about something that is the kind of statistical rarity that is the nature of this particular type of incident.

If there are any additional questions relating to review processes and procedures, we can talk about that, but, unfortunately, I am not able to answer questions that go specifically to the incident on the night of 13 November, as I explained to Mr Cocks and Ms Castley in that briefing.

MR COCKS: Minister, what has gone wrong at the adult mental health unit that could have resulted in a patient in the care of your health system being killed when he should have been recovering?

MS DAVIDSON: As I noted earlier, an internal review was conducted immediately, and the policies and procedures were being followed. As I said previously, a comprehensive investigation with an independent external lead will commence in the coming weeks. That will also go through the circumstances of what happened as well.

There is also an ongoing police investigation, and I expect there will be other forms of investigation that need to occur due to the nature of this particular incident and how

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