Queensland's Mental Health Commissioner Dr Lesley van Schoubroeck said the decision by Queensland Health to change security arrangements at the state’s mental health inpatient facilities was an operational matter made within the current policy and legislative mandate.
However, Dr van Schoubroeck said she was concerned these changes raise systemic questions that are a high priority for the Mental Health Commission.
“It’s important we get the right balance between the need for personal and public safety, and the human rights of individuals living with mental illness,” Dr van Schoubroeck said.
“We must remember that most people treated in mental health facilities are voluntary patients who pose no risk to the community and that fewer than 20 per cent of the 4400 involuntary patients are subject to a forensic order.
“The need for legal representation and other support for involuntary patients was identified during recent statewide consultation to develop a mental health and drug strategic plan and will be carefully considered when finalising the plan,” she said.
She said the Queensland Mental Health Commission had participated in the current review of the Mental Health Act 2000 and looked forward to reviewing any changes.