Findings and recommendations from the Commission of Inquiry into the closure of the Barrett Centre were today released by Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszcsuk, Health Minister Cameron Dick and Commissioner of the Inquiry, Justice Margaret Wilson. The Premier’s comments surrounding the release urged understanding for the vulnerability of those affected and went on to describe the closure as
“a bad decision with far-reaching consequences. It was a decision made with inadequate advice and without proper consultation with the families of patients. The decision to close the Centre was announced in a radio interview.”
The full media statement from the Premier’s office can be read here but the key outcome of the report’s recommendations affirms the government’s commitment to provide a new centre that will provide extended inpatient care for young people with severe and complex mental health issues.
“My focus remains unchanged and my Government will build a new treatment and rehabilitation facility to cater for their needs and with the input from their families.”
Other findings from the 650 page public volume of the report are as follows:
- that the decision to close Barrett did not properly assess and analyse relevant factors involved
- that the reasons provided for the decision did not support its closure, but rather supported a review and update of the model of care and consideration of a new or replacement facility
- that there were serious problems with the governance and decision-making processes (no one person or entity assumed responsibility and accountability for the closure) and systemic issues with the redirection of funding from the Redlands project with the former Health Minister not adequately advised
- that there was an over-reliance on the views of some key individuals and inadequate briefing notes, record keeping and communication with patients, families and staff.
Adverse commentary against a number of Government employees had meant the Public Service Commission is now independently reviewing the report and will advise the Government whether disciplinary or any other action against an employee referred to in the report should be taken.
The recommendations, broadly summarised, are:
- review legislation that establishes the devolved Hospital and Health Service model in Queensland Health
- improve service agreements Queensland Health uses to contract services provided by non-government organisations
- improve the availability and use of evaluations to inform clinical interventions in mental health
- consider a new building in south-east Queensland offering a range of mental health services for young people, including bed-based services;
improve transitions for adolescents moving into adult mental health services and
- improve coordination between services designed to support young people who have both an intellectual disability and mental illness.
These findings and recommendations are from the first volume of 650+ pages which has been publicly released. The second volume of the report which contains detailed information on patients and families will not be made available.
Documents related to this post:
BARRETT ADOLESCENT CENTRE COMMISSION OF INQUIRY REPORT – Vol 1.
GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO BARRETT COMMISSION OF INQUIRY REPORT
COMMISSIONER’S STATEMENT ON RELEASE OF BAC COI REPORT