Legal matters: Mental Health Act 2016
AMHS Administrators: Roles and responsibilities
A person who may be detained in an authorised mental health service under the Act may be detained by the administrator with the help and using the force that is necessary and reasonable in the circumstances.
An examination or assessment of an involuntary patient under the Act may be made without the consent of the person or anyone else. The examination or assessment may be undertaken in an authorised mental health service using the force that is necessary and reasonable in the circumstances.
The treatment and care of particular involuntary patients may be provided without the consent of the patient or anyone else. This applies to an involuntary patient subject to a treatment authority, forensic order or treatment support order, or a person who is absent without permission from interstate and is detained in a service. The treatment may be provided in an authorised mental health service using the force that is necessary and reasonable in the circumstances.
Administrators must keep records for each involuntary patient and classified patient (voluntary) in the service. The Act outlines the minimum requirements for this.
Administrators must approve any search requiring the removal of clothing.
Visits by health practitioners, legal or other advisers
A health practitioner may visit a patient and consult with an authorised doctor under arrangements made with the administrator of the authorised mental health service.
A legal or other adviser may visit a patient under arrangements made with the administrator of the authorised mental health service.
Telephone and electronic communication devices
Patients have a general right to communicate by post, a fixed line telephone, a mobile telephone or other electronic communication device.
However, an administrator may prohibit or restrict a patient from communicating by telephone or electronic communication device if communicating is likely to be detrimental to the health or wellbeing of the person or others.
Refusal of visit
An administrator may refuse to allow a person to visit a patient of the service if the administrator is satisfied the proposed visit will adversely affect the patient's treatment and care.
However, the administrator cannot refuse entry to:
- a person performing a function under an Act, for example, a community visitor under the Public Guardian Act 2014, or
- a legal representative or health practitioner requested by the patient to visit.
A person may appeal the decision to the tribunal.
The Act requires administrators to give notices to specific persons when decisions are made under the Act. This includes when a treatment authority is made for a person.
The provision of notices to patients is an important safeguard. This is strengthened under the Act, by requiring these notices to be given to support persons.
If the patient has a nominated support person, the notice must be given to the nominated support person, and need not be given to the patient if the patient may not understand or benefit from receiving the notice.
If the person is aware the patient has a personal guardian or attorney, the notice must be given to the guardian or attorney, and need not be given to the patient if the patient may not understand or benefit from receiving the notice.
If the patient does not have a nominated support person, or a personal guardian or attorney, the person may give the notice to one or more of the patient's family, carers or other support persons as well as, or instead of, to the patient if it appears to be in the patient's best interests.
If the patient is a minor, the person may give the required written notice to one or more of the minor's parents as well as, or instead of, to the minor if it appears to be in the patient's best interests.
Provision of information to Public Guardian
The Act requires administrators to notify the Public Guardian if:
- a minor is admitted to an inpatient unit that is not a child and adolescent unit, or
- a minor is admitted to a high security unit.
This will be arranged automatically through the mental health information management system.