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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 23 September 2010) . . Page.. 4457 ..


the document you tabled regarding CATT, it implies that there are misconceptions in the community because some people believe CATT is an emergency crisis service that should respond immediately. Minister, on what basis is CATT not a crisis service, and what types of situations is CATT willing to respond to?

MS GALLAGHER: CATT is a crisis service. I guess the difference in the language in some of the issues that have come up through the internal review is around whether it is an emergency service similar to the police or the ambulance. The CATT team will triage calls to their intake line based on professional judgments about who needs to be attended to first.

These are some of the issues that have come up—and I have certainly received them—where a parent of someone who has a mental illness is worried that, in the view of the professionals and staff of the crisis and assessment team, their child is not in an emergency situation. There have been misconceptions about the view that you just ring them and someone will come out. That is not necessarily what happens. CATT will respond when, in their clinical judgement, a response is required. If not, they will be able to refer people to other services or to the community mental health team, if that person is a user of that service.

I guess it is around their clinical decision making and the fact that they are not driving around the suburbs with a siren responding to every call that comes through. That is some of the misconception that exists around the crisis and assessment treatment team.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Bresnan, a supplementary?

MS BRESNAN: Minister, when should ACT Policing or the paramedics attend a crisis situation involving a person with mental illness rather than CATT?

MS GALLAGHER: For example, if it is not a mental health situation, if someone has rung CATT and in the clinical judgement of those professionals it is not appropriate for CATT to be involved but perhaps another emergency service should, then that is a legitimate situation. I would be surprised if, because of your knowledge around mental health, this issue has not come up with you. It has come up repeatedly with me, both internally through ACT Mental Health and from some consumer and carer experiences.

We have not taken any view on it. As those documents I tabled show, it is being considered by the department. It is not a do-or-die issue to rename the service or to have a different name or to keep it as CATT. What we are trying to do is get a better understanding of how the service is running and views and perceptions around it.

There are, clearly, cases that would come to CATT, for example, if there were some life-threatening or some physical health emergency involved in that call where another emergency service would be the most appropriate response. I think CATT works with the paramedics and works with police closely in all their dealings with individuals across the city. It is hard to go through every single case that I can think of where a misconception around the role of CATT has occurred but it is certainly an issue. As I said, the renaming or not renaming of the team is not a huge problem.


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