Mental Health Amendment

Change to the Mental Health Act 2013

Earlier this year the Mental Health Tribunal requested a change to the Mental Health Act 2013 (the Act) that would remove the requirement for the Tribunal to conduct a mandatory review of a treatment order where a patient has complied with the treatment order and the decision to admit the patient is a clinical one to prevent possible harm.

The proposed amendment was intended to address concerns raised by the Tribunal that it was required to conduct three-member panel reviews of treatment orders where there were no compliance issues in relation to the treatment order.

A draft Mental Health Amendment Bill 2018 to make this change was prepared for consultation purposes.

Consultation on the change

Public consultation on the draft Mental Health Amendment Bill 2018 (pdf, 127.2 KB) commenced on 16 May 2018 and concluded on 7 June 2018.

The consultation process was undertaken by the Department of Justice and was subject to the Government’s ‘Publication of Submissions Received by Tasmanian Government Departments in Response to Consultation on Major Policy Issues’ policy.

Further details on the policy and a link to the full document are available on the Department of Premier and Cabinet website (external link).

The Department of Justice received five submissions that are required to be published in accordance with the policy. As the Government’s consideration of all submissions has now concluded, those submissions that are required to be published have been made available.

Mental Health Amendment Bill 2018

In response to a number of matters raised during consultation, the Government has agreed to an alternative approach to amending the Act.

The revised Mental Health Amendment Bill 2018 will amend the Act to provide that, in cases where a patient has complied with their treatment order but is admitted to prevent possible harm, the mandatory review of their treatment order by the Mental Health Tribunal may be conducted by either a one-person or three-person panel as appropriate, appointed by the President of the Tribunal.

This approach will ensure that patients’ rights are protected by retaining the mandatory requirement for a Tribunal review whenever a patient is admitted for treatment. It will provide the Tribunal with the flexibility to direct its resources more effectively in circumstances where a review by a single Tribunal member is appropriate. This will also assist in reducing the distress that may be caused to some patients by a hearing before a full, three-person panel.

Reviews of treatment orders conducted for other reasons, such as mandatory reviews 60 days or 180 days after a treatment order is made, or reviews requested by a patient at any other time, will remain unchanged and will continue to be conducted by a three-member panel.

The final Bill will be available on the Parliament of Tasmania (external link) website once tabled.

Accessibility of submissions

The Government recognises that not all individuals or groups are equally placed to access and understand information. We are therefore committed to ensuring Government information is accessible and easily understood by people with diverse communication needs.

The Government cannot however take responsibility for the accessibility of documents provided by third parties.