Forensic Mental Health and Disability Services Review Released

The Review of Forensic Mental Health andDisability Services within the Northern Territory examined forensic mentalhealth service delivery, forensic disability services, health services in youthjustice detention, community mental health and disability services for peopleleaving the criminal justice system, and legislation and court processes.

The Review made 21 recommendations, including:

  • Thedevelopment of a service model that combines disability and mental healthservices
  • Areview of the role of the Chief Psychiatrist
  • Clinicalservice planning for mental health services, including forensic services
  • Adiscussion on the repurposing of the Complex Behaviour Unit (CBU) to a forensicfacility catering for both mental health and disability presentations, and dualdiagnosis.

The findings in the Review arebased on the views of the panel with regard to best practice and appropriatepolicy responses in contemporary and comparable systems.

The Territory Government has accepted all 21 recommendationseither fully or in-principle. Those accepted in-principle have resourceimplications that may not be easily met in the current economic climate orrequire expert clinical knowledge that traditionally require long lead times torecruit to. However, the Government has committed to progressing theimplementation of the recommendations in the long term.

Work has already begun on three of the recommendations:

  • accessto the National Disability Insurance Scheme
  • reviewof the role of the Chief Psychiatrist
  • annualreporting on movement and numbers of forensic patients in the system

Mr David McGrath and an independent panel of expertsconducted the Review, which follows Dr Peter Norries 2018 independent reviewof Part IIA orders.

The Review canbe found here: https://health.nt.gov.au/health-governance/nt-health-reviews

As stated by Minister for Health, Natasha Fyles:

The health, wellbeing and safety of Territorians isparamount.

This Review and our response ensures there is continuous improvement in our managementand treatment of people with mental illness, cognitive disabilities and mentalimpairment.

*About Review Author David McGrath:

David McGrath runs his own independent consultancy business providingadvice to government on areas of social policy. He was previously the Directorof Mental Health and Drug & Alcohol Programs at NSW Health and held thatrole for nine years. With a background in psychology, research, operationalmanagement, 15 years clinical experience, and a Masters degree in Business.

David is a technical advisor to the World Health Organisation on MentalHealth and Human Rights. He has previously been on the NSW PsychologistsRegistration Board, the board of the Institute of Psychiatry, and the board ofthe National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre. Additionally he was previouslythe Chair of the Intergovernmental Committee on Drugs, and has representedAustralia on four occasions at the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs.

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