The Queensland Mental Health Commissioner today welcomed public discussion on moves to phase out restraint and seclusion of people with mental illness.
Dr Lesley van Schoubroeck said the release of a position statement by the National Mental Health Commission had contributed to renewed discussion of ways to reduce seclusion and restraint.
She commended proposed changes in the Queensland Mental Health Bill that will improve patient rights and increase the oversight of restrictive mental health practices, including measures that make it an offence to give medication if it is not clinically necessary and regulating the use of physical restraint.
"Queensland, as with all the states and territories, must continue to work towards implementation of least restrictive practices," Dr van Schoubroeck said.
The latest Report of Government Services found that seclusion events in Queensland reduced from 18.2 events per 1,000 bed days in 2008-09 to 11.1 events in 2013-14.
"All the signs are that Queensland is heading in the right direction, but we must get consistent data if we are to monitor our progress nationally," Dr van Schoubroeck said.
"We need to continue the focus on leading in the area of patient care and safety through the use of evidence-based, least restrictive practices.
"This is an important issue not only for Queenslanders with mental illness, but also for their families and carers.
"The position of the National Mental Health Commission and the contribution to public debate will ensure that all governments continue to focus on the changing current practices and implementing strategies that reduce and where possible eliminate seclusion and restraint."