Chief Psychiatrist 2016-17 Annual Report Tabled In Parliament

Chief Psychiatrist 2016-17 Annual Report Tabled In Parliament

Queensland Minister for Health Cameron Dick

Report Shows Lower Rate Of Seclusion Events In Mental Health Units

Victor P Taffa

Queensland’s mental health system has achieved a record low rate of seclusion events in acute mental health units and a significant reduction in the number of patients absent from facilities without permission.

2016-17 annual report of the Chief Psychiatrist, tabled in Parliament, outlines recent initiatives aimed at bolstering the state’s mental health system, including the introduction of new legislation, the Mental Health Act 2016.

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick said the report, the first of its type under the new Act, highlighted the Queensland Government’s commitment to providing world-class mental health treatment.


“This report showcases the great work being done in mental health and it reflects our efforts to improve services, deliver evidence-based treatment and ensure the complex needs of patients are met, while enhancing the focus on the rights of people receiving involuntary treatment.” Minister Dick said.

“I’m very pleased to see there has been a reduction in seclusion events in acute mental health settings over the past 5 years, from 9.4 per 1,000 accrued patient days to 7.9.”

“This is the lowest rate ever recorded in Queensland and it shows we are making excellent progress toward the national goal of reducing and ultimately eliminating the practice of seclusion.” Minister Dick said.

Queensland Health’s Chief Psychiatrist Dr. John Reilly said there had also been a significant decrease in the number of patients absent without approval.

“During 2016-17, there were 2,531 authorities to return issued to patients more than 630 fewer than in the previous reporting period.” Dr. Reilly said.

“We will continue to work on reducing absences without approval, including exploring a structured approach to assessing individual patients’ risk of being absent without approval.”

Dr. Reilly said almost 100,000 are seen in the public mental health system each year, with nearly 2 Million clinical encounters in the community and 24,000 admissions to specialist inpatient units.

About 21 % of people who have a very serious mental illness require involuntary treatment to ensure their own and others’ safety.

In implementing the Mental Health Act 2016, which replaced the Mental Health Act 2000, key initiatives included:

  • Establishment of a network of independent patient rights advisors
  • Suite of comprehensive policies and guidelines to complement the new Act and ensure Queensland’s mental health services align with evidence-based contemporary mental health practice
  • Extensive amendments to the Consumer Integrated Mental Health Application (CIMHA) to ensure it is consistent with the new legislation and captures information required for monitoring and reporting purposes
  • Replacing the Director of Mental Health role with the role of Chief Psychiatrist.

“Queenslanders can look forward to continued improvements in care, treatment, and community protection as we roll out the State Government’s $350 Million plan to improve mental health services.” Minister Dick said.