Page 4618 - Week 14 - Thursday, 24 November 2005

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skills or technology to be introduced; demonstrable multiplier indirect effects on the ACT economy—that is, flow-on unemployment—sourcing of inputs; and use of ACT and region-based services. If a business looks like it is genuinely going to contribute to growth within the economy, we are happy to revise our rules. We are very happy to encourage any business that will build the ACT economy.

Dental health

MR CORBELL: In question time today Mr Smyth asked me about alleged reductions in positions in the dental health program. I am pleased to advise Mr Smyth that there has been no reduction in funded positions in the dental health program. One staff member has been removed for non-budgetary reasons. This position will be replaced. There has been no reduction in staffing in the dental health program.

Mental health

MR CORBELL: Yesterday in the Assembly in question time Mr Smyth asked me a question about protocols for the CAT team, in particular in relation to police attendance. I am pleased to advise Mr Smyth that the mental health crisis team response is based on clinical and risk assessment. The response categories are as follows: category one is crisis response within one hour, where the use of emergency services may be required; category two is priority response within 12 hours, with routine or urgent assessment; category three is deferred response within 24 hours, involving regional team referral or support visits and medication compliance; category four involves referrals to other agencies; and category five is general inquiries.

The crisis team always endeavours to respond to these situations` within the relevant time frames. If assessed as necessary to reduce the risk of harm to the consumer, staff or others, the crisis team will ask police to accompany them in their response. There is no stipulation in relation to the number of police required, nor in which circumstances police should attend. This decision is made on a case-by-case assessment of each individual situation. Attendance by police is based on need, not on the time of the day.

In relation to the particular incident to which Mr Smyth referred, the consumer in question was given a response of a category two priority, that is, response within 12 hours. This decision was based on the referral information and assessment. This information also identified the need for police support to be available to attend with the crisis team. Australian Federal Police assistance was required, as the CAT staff had been advised that the consumer was unwilling to have any medical contact and had been aggressive to friends when they suggested she go to hospital. The AFP provided appropriate support to enable the crisis team to respond within the required response time. The response time was about four hours. The protocol specifies response within 12 hours.

The crisis team has a good working relationship with the AFP. This is demonstrated through a new draft memorandum of understanding between Mental Health ACT, the AFP and the ACT Ambulance Service. It outlines how all services will work together to achieve the best possible outcomes for ACT consumers and will be formally signed off by all parties in the very near future.

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