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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 4 Hansard (4 May) . . Page.. 1320..


Psychiatric Services Unit—security

(Question No 1028)

Mrs Burke asked the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 29 March 2006:

(1) Are there any security cameras in the Psychiatric Services Unit (PSU) monitoring inpatients to reduce the risk of self harm or escape; if so, how many and where are they located; if not, why not;

(2) Have any concerns been raised in the last 12 months by nursing staff at the PSU about lack of security cameras to monitor patients;

(3) Is it the case that nurses at the PSU have recently been required to undertake additional checks of PSU patients in an effort to increase monitoring of patients; if so, has ACT Health or the Minister received any complaints about this increasing the workload of nurses;

(4) How many checklists are nurses required to fill out each shift and what is the average length of each nursing shift in the PSU;

(5) Is there a requirement for checklists to be prepared on paper as well as electronically; if so, has ACT Health or the Minister received any complaints about this increasing the workload of nurses;

(6) If there is a requirement for checklists to also be prepared electronically, does this take nursing staff away from other practical duties or their patients longer than previously;

(7) Have nursing staff at the PSU raised concerns about any increase in workload in the last 12 months; if so, how have you addressed these concerns;

(8) Is the Minister satisfied that there is enough monitoring of patients in the PSU, either by security camera or by nursing staff.

Mr Corbell

: The answer to the member's question is as follows:

(1) There are four security cameras located in the Psychiatric Services Unit (PSU) at Canberra Hospital. They are located at the front door, inside the vestibule adjacent to the main entrance, at the link door connecting the Unit to the Main Hospital and at the entrance of the Assessment Unit. The cameras are used to identify people wanting to enter or leave the unit. The use of cameras to monitor consumers in the Unit would not be therapeutic and may add to the distress of consumers.

(2) Mental Health ACT (MHACT) has not been made aware of any concerns by nursing staff to monitor consumers in the PSU via security cameras.

(3) Following Coronial Recommendations and the Mann-LaRoche Review of the PSU at the Canberra Hospital a new risk assessment tool (CRA) was developed for utilisation in the PSU. This establishes the 'at risk' category (ARC) for the consumer and the level of observation required. Some nursing staff report that it is time consuming process, but all staff recognise that the ARC process is essential to effectively caring for consumers while in the unit under their care. Time management and workload issues continue to be monitored and resolutions developed in consultation with staff, management and relevant industrial organisations.


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