AMHS Administrators: Roles and responsibilities
Becoming a classified patient
The Act deals with circumstances where a person in custody (in prison, youth detention centre or watch-house) becomes acutely unwell and needs to be transferred to an authorised mental health service for treatment and care.
There are three circumstances where a person may be transferred to an authorised mental health service as a classified patient:
- the person is subject to a recommendation for assessment
- the person is subject to a treatment authority, forensic order (mental health) or treatment support order, and a transfer recommendation has been made by a doctor or authorised mental health practitioner, or
- the person consents to being treated in an authorised mental health service and a transfer recommendation has been made for the person.
In all cases, an administrator consent and a custodian consent must be made for the person for the transfer to occur.
An administrator consent may be made if:
- the service has capacity to carry out an assessment or to provide treatment and care for the person's mental illness, and
- If the service is not a high security unit, the admission of the person would not pose an unreasonable risk to the safety of the person or others.
The chief psychiatrist must approve the transfer of a minor to a high security unit.
Similar arrangements apply where a person who would otherwise be in custody is already in an authorised mental health service under an 'examination order' made by a magistrate or a 'court examination order' made by the Mental Health Court, and needs to remain in the service for treatment and care.
Chief psychiatrist role
If a person is not transported within 72 hours of a recommendation for assessment or recommendation for transfer being made, a doctor or authorised mental health practitioner in the service must notify the chief psychiatrist.
The chief psychiatrist may consent to a person being transported to a service after receiving this notice, or if the chief psychiatrist otherwise becomes aware a person has not been transported to a service. The administrator must then arrange for the person to be transported to the service, subject to a custodian consent being made.
Ending of classified patient
A person may continue to be a classified patient only if:
- the person is subject to an order or authority under the Act, or consents to treatment in an authorised mental health service, and
- it is clinically appropriate for the person to receive treatment and care in an authorised mental health service, and
- the person would be in lawful custody under another law if the person were not a classified patient.
The Act outlines the processes that must be followed to return the person to custody or to the community where any of these no longer apply.