The Queensland Government has reacted quickly to implement the six main recommendations from Commissioner Margaret Wilson following the Inquiry into the Closure of the Barrett Centre. They 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
- Improve coordination between services designed to support young people who have both an intellectual disability and mental illness.
Independent Reviews into several areas have been set in motion and planning for a new building has begun. Within the last week, the Health Minister, Cameron Dick has twice stood before state parliament and reiterated the commitment to consult with “those families who were affected by the closure”, noting that a meeting was held on the 17th of August with those families.
A key outcome of that meeting is that the families agreed they would work with Health Consumers Queensland and Queensland Health in the ongoing planning of the new facility that will provide residential mental health care for young people.
Through this process, families will have the opportunity to be represented on various committees, finalising the clinical model and the building design alongside experts.
QLD Health Minister Cameron Dick, Ministerial Statement: Qld Parliament 18/08/2016
The Minister has also noted that “At least some of the planning already exists because prior to 2012 the then Labor government prepared a costed and funded plan to build a new facility at Redlands to replace the Barrett centre.” (The full text for the statements in parliament are on the Hansard records for 17/8 and 18/8.) The Queensland Health Minister’s final statement on the 18th is one that gives reassurance to all those affected by the gap in service provision for young people whose mental health issues that currently exists:
I intend to keep the House fully informed of this government’s actions in providing a replacement for the Barrett centre, a process that we are determined to get right.
We look forward to the results of those actions and those who’ve advocated for the community affected by severe and complex mental health issues will continue to do all they can to ensure that those with lived experience – the health and education practitioners as well as the young people, carers and families – have a voice that is not just heard but appropriately responded to throughout.