Page 979 - Week 03 - Thursday, 10 April 2014

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Islander students, running at close to 80 per cent of those cohorts. It is pleasing to see the ACT is continuing to set the example across the nation for outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, with the highest school retention rates and the best NAPLAN results for any state and territory.

In 2014, there were 2,934 students accessing special education programs in ACT schools, and this is an increase of 9.1 per cent on last year. The public sector continued to have the highest proportion of students with special education needs, with 74.3 per cent of the total enrolments.

As I said in response to an earlier question, this is a six-year trend of increased growth in government schools in the ACT, and I think that is a good outcome and a result of quality teaching and the investment that this government puts in to the sector.

Mr Barr: I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.

Supplementary answers to questions without notice

Health—hospital staff protection

MR BARR: Yesterday Mr Hanson and Mr Wall asked me, as acting Minister for Health, questions in relation to facilities currently at the hospital or elsewhere for people who are at risk of self-harm or with very high potential to be lethal, and then what measures were in place to protect staff and others from high-risk patients. I am advised by the Health Directorate that if persons present to Canberra Hospital or are brought to the hospital as a result of self-harm, those persons are triaged and assessed in the emergency department. When they have been medically cleared, they are transferred to the Mental Health Assessment Unit for a mental health assessment.

If it is determined by the mental health assessment that the person requires admission, that person is then transferred to the Adult Mental Health Unit. There are times when a person may remain in the Mental Health Assessment Unit for a period of extended assessment and will then be followed up by either the Crisis Assessment and Treatment Team or a Community Mental Health Team. Depending on a person’s medical condition, they may then be transferred to another unit within the hospital. If that occurs, Mental Health, justice, Health, and Alcohol and Drug Services provide consultation and support for that person’s mental health care.

In relation to provisions to protect staff, the individual’s mental health state is reviewed at the initial assessment and then on a regular basis. This provides a qualitative assessment of risk to the individual and to others, including staff. In almost all cases, risk to others, including staff, is low. However, if the risk is clinically assessed as other than low, appropriate nursing support is requested to monitor and support the person, and I am advised this can include a one-to-one nursing ratio if required.

All staff have a personal duress alarm and are trained to anticipate potential escalation that may result in an incident of physical harm to the staff. With successful proactive management of the individual by staff, the need for seclusion has been markedly reduced. However, there are rare times when seclusion is needed to minimise the risk of harm to the person and to others.

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