Mental health care improvements to be implemented

The Central Coast community is being encouraged to help be part of mental health care improvements, to prevent seclusion and restraint of people with mental illness.

Central Coast Local Health District (CCLHD) Chief Executive, Dr Andrew Montague, said the call comes following the NSW Government’s recent release of 27 actions addressing the recommendations of the review of seclusion, restraint and observation report released last December. Dr Montague said CCLHD will join every other health network in NSW in developing a localised, culturally appropriate, seclusion and restraint prevention action plan to implement the recommendations. “CCLHD is committed to preventing the seclusion and restraint of local patients within our area,” Dr Montague said.

“To achieve this, we are partnering with our local community, from consumers, carers, families, and staff, to build and deliver an action plan that will deliver a safe and quality service. “This is our chance to make sure that we respond in ways that meet our local needs.” Minister for Health, Mr Brad Hazzard, and, Minister for Mental Health, Ms Tanya Davies, recently outlined the 27 actions to address each of 19 recommendations of the Review of seclusion, restraint and observation of consumers with a mental illness in NSW Health facilities, accepted by the NSW Government.

The NSW Government has also committed an initial $20m to improve the therapeutic environment inside acute mental health units across the state. Ms Davies said new ambitious targets to reduce the use of seclusion will be included in annual performance agreements with local health districts. Around-the-clock supervision and targets to reduce the use of seclusion will be introduced under a plan to significantly improve mental health care in NSW. “The tragic death of Lismore woman, Ms Miriam Merten, was the catalyst for change, and now we have a significant plan that will greatly improve the safety of mental health patients,” Ms Davies said. “We would like to thank consumers, their families, peak mental health organisations and NSW Health staff for their immense efforts over the past 12 months,” she added.

Source: Media release, May 17 Lauren Nichols, Central Coast Local Health District