Mental Health Act 2016 changes
For mental health enquiries, please email MHA@publicguardian.qld.gov.au.
The Mental Health Act 2016 is similar to the Mental Health Act 2000 but there are several significant differences which impact upon the roles and functions of the OPG.
Some of the significant changes include:
- Replacing ‘involuntary treatment orders’ with ‘treatment authorities’.
- Allied person is discontinued, and will be replaced with a new role of the 'nominated support person'.
- Requiring a person to be treated under an advance health directive, or with the consent of an attorney of guardian (rather than under a treatment authority), if the person’s treatment needs can be met in this ‘less restrictive way’.
- Enabling a person to be treated without consent under a treatment authority, only if they lack capacity and there is a serious risk of harm or deterioration.
- Requiring individuals on treatment authorities to be placed on a community category unless their treatment needs cannot be met that way.
- Providing the right for a patient, or someone on their behalf, to seek an independent second opinion if they are unable to resolve concerns about their treatment and care.
- Providing the right for an inpatient to communicate by phone or other electronic device unless there is a risk to the patient or others.
- Increasing safeguards regarding the use of restrictive practices, particularly for involuntary patients, and oversight of the use of these practices on minors by OPG community visitors and notification to the OPG of minors admitted to adult facilities.
- Providing the power for Magistrates to dismiss charges if a person is found to have been of unsound mind at the time of an offence, or is unfit for trial
- Creation of independent patient rights advisers (IPRAs) in every Authorised Mental Health Service (AMHS).
Queensland Health have developed a Comparison of Key Provisions (PDF 131KB) fact sheet that details in greater depth the differences between the two Acts.
The new Act has significant impacts on the OPG's Guardianship, Investigation and Community Visitor programs.