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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 9 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 3373..


MR WOOD (continuing):

At chapter 3 of that report is an analysis and discussion of issues relating to disability services, including unmet need. The information contained in this chapter will be used by Disability ACT to assist with the planning process for the range of services required by people with a disability. This will be incorporated into the reform work currently being undertaken in response to the report of the board of inquiry.

As to the caseload in Therapy ACT, caseload data in isolation from other data is a poor indicator for assessing the workloads of staff because it does not take into account the following factors: the complexity of clients; the frequency of contact with clients, that is, regular weekly or monthly sessions versus six monthly or 12 monthly review assessments; models of service, that is, consultancy versus intervention programs; whether the clients attend groups or receive individual sessions; school-based services versus home based and the like; and the experience of staff, that is, new graduates and less experienced staff would not be able to manage as many clients as very experienced staff.

For that reason, I am not very keen to provide a breakdown of that workload. Certainly, we are sensitive to the internal dynamics and the need to ensure that the two services now merged work coherently. We are sensitive to that, but I am not sure that it is a good thing to isolate just what one person is doing for the reasons I have mentioned, just a caseload.

Ms Tucker: It could be averaged out easily. That is not a good answer.

MR WOOD: I will think about that, but averaging out now takes a very big amount of work.

Ms Tucker: No, just average it out over-

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Wood has the floor.

Ms Tucker: I will talk to you later.

MR WOOD: Okay. Since the introduction of Therapy ACT on 1 July, improvements have been introduced to the management of caseloads and the allocation of new clients. Any new referral is now taken by an intake team, which allocates it to the relevant team member. The team leader discusses the client with staff and, based on the client's need and the service requested, assigns a priority to the client. The client is then either assessed immediately or placed on a waiting list for the appropriate discipline.

Mental health care

MR CORBELL: Mr Smyth asked me a question earlier in this sitting period in relation to the number of clients of Mental Health ACT who have been involved in homicides, in attempted homicides, in attempted suicides and in successful or actual suicides. The answer to Mr Smyth's question is that significant incidents involving Mental Health ACT clients are referred to the clinical incident review committee. In the past 18 months there has been no report of a client of Mental Health ACT being involved in a homicide or attempted homicide. Five clients have been referred following attempted suicide. Mental Health ACT does not collect data on attempted suicides not referred to the


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