Queensland’s Mental Health Bill passed by Parliament

The Mental Health Bill 2015 (Bill) was passed by Queensland Parliament on 18 February 2016. It repeals and replaces the Mental Health Act 2000.

The Bill is said to implement a range of new measures to ensure improved outcomes for mental health patients across the State and divert those suffering from mental illness from the criminal justice system.

The Bill recognises the right of all persons to basic human rights, worth and dignity. It recognises that, to the greatest extent possible, all persons are to be encouraged to take part in making decisions affecting their life, especially decisions about treatment and care.

Some of the key provisions of the Bill are as follows:

  1. better use of advance health directives as a way for patients to give directions about their care should they become unable to give consent to treatment;
  2. authorised mental health services must have systems in place to ensure that patients are advised of their rights under the Bill;
  3. the Magistrate’s Court may dismiss a complaint for a simple offence if the Court is reasonably satisfied that the person charged with the offence was, or appears to have been, of unsound mind;
  4. prior to discharge from an emergency department, mental health patients are to receive recommendations for assessment from an authorised doctor;
  5. the use of physical restraints in authorised mental health services have been further regulated; and
  6. imposes additional requirements for doctors to consult with families, carers and other support persons in relation to the mentally ill person.

It is said that the Bill will reduce the compliance burden on health services in administering the legislation, by reducing the volume of forms required under the legislation.

Post by Emma Ellis and Karen Kumar 

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