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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 2 December 2021) . . Page.. 4197 ..


Chief Psychiatrist—reports and recommendations

Ms Davidson (in reply to a question and supplementary questions by Ms Lee and Mr Cain on Thursday, 2 December 2021):

While a formal Section 197 (b) report has not been made, over the last 12 months, the Chief Psychiatrist has routinely provided advice to the Minister for Mental Health concerning the operation of the Mental Health Act 2015. This has included advice in relation to:

approval of mental health facilities

licencing of a private mental health facility

mental health impacts in a pandemic, and

preparation of letters of response to constituents.

The Chief Psychiatrist’s report is included in the ACT Health Annual Report 2020-2021.

Discussions are occurring with the Chief Psychiatrist about the nature and frequency of section 197 (b) reports.

The Chief Psychiatrist is a statutory position appointed under section 196 of the Mental Health Act 2015. The Chief Psychiatrist is a member of the ACT Health Directorate Executive, however, also undertakes statutory functions independent of the Executive.

The current ACT Chief Medical Officer Dr Dinesh Arya, whom is a public servant and Psychiatrist has been appointed as ACT Chief Psychiatrist.

The Chief Psychiatrist’s function is to provide treatment, care or support, rehabilitation and protection for persons who have a mental illness. The Chief Psychiatrist delegates most of the Chief Psychiatrist’s functions under the Act to other Psychiatrists in the ACT.

The Chief Psychiatrist also:

appoints Mental Health Officers, who are either a nurse, nurse practitioner, psychologist, occupational therapist or social worker, to undertake specific functions under the Act, and

issues guidelines on the implementation of various sections of the Act.

In undertaking the role, the Chief Psychiatrist liaises directly with mental health service providers and facilities, consumers and carers and makes reports and recommendations to the Minister.


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