Independent Board to Oversee Dhulwa Reforms

Minister for Mental Health, Emma Davidson has announced that the ACT Government has accepted all recommendations of the report from the Inquiry into Legislative, Workplace Governance and Clinical Frameworks at the Dhulwa Mental Health Unit.

All recommendations will be implemented by March 2024.

Chair of the inquiry, Barbara Deegan will lead an independent oversight board to oversee the timely implementation of the recommendations. The Board will report to Minister Davidson. Ms Deegan is a former Commissioner of the Fair Work Commission and Commissioner of the Tasmanian Industrial Commission. The Board will also have representation from the Australian Nurses and Midwifery Federation, forensic mental health nursing expertise, Carers ACT, Mental Health Consumers and the Health Services Commissioner. The Board will also be attended by Canberra Health Services and the Office of Industrial Relations and Workforce Strategy.

The inquiry brought together feedback from a wide range of stakeholders including clinicians, consumers, current and former staff and the ANMF. Implementing the 25 recommendations will help drive systems change and workforce engagement to manage clinical and WHS risks and improve safety and the quality of clinical care.

Quotes attributable to Minister Emma Davidson:

“The ACT Government is committed to providing a safe environment for staff and people receiving care in Dhulwa, and to ensuring the delivery of high-quality clinical care that meets the therapeutic needs of Canberrans who need forensic mental health inpatient care.

When I received the Dhulwa Inquiry Report in December, I said that the ACT Government would take the recommendations seriously and was committed to ensuring long term and sustainable improvements at Dhulwa.

By accepting every recommendation, without qualification, we have demonstrated that commitment and we are already working on their implementation. We are working with Canberra Health Services, representatives of staff, and of patients and carers, to make Dhulwa the place it should be.

I am particularly pleased to announce the Independent Oversight Board. There’s a wide range of expertise on the Board and it will make such a strong contribution to ensuring that the implementation of recommendations is sustainable and that they stick over the long term. It will report to me as they consider the implementation of the recommendations.

I’m grateful to Barbara for agreeing to continue her involvement with the Dhulwa work, as well as all of the other members of the Board. I look forward to working with the Board as it gets underway.

I will formally table the Government response to the Dhulwa Inquiry in the Legislative Assembly this week.”

Quotes attributable to Barbara Deegan:

“I’m pleased to be able to continue my involvement with the Dhulwa work and look forward to working with the other members of the Independent Board to provide the ACT Government and the wider Canberra community with the assurance that the recommendations have been implemented effectively.

“I commend Minister Davidson for her commitment to the Dhulwa Inquiry and ensuring that it will bring about lasting change.”

/Public Release. This material from the originating organization/author(s) may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s).View in full here.