The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) welcomes the recommendations made in the South Australian Independent Commissioner Against Corruption’s (ICAC) final report of the investigation into potential serious or systemic maladministration associated with the Oakden Older Persons Mental Health Service.
‘The RANZCP considers the Commissioner’s report an important outcome for vulnerable older people in care, the health system and the South Australian government,’ RANZCP President Dr Kym Jenkins said.
‘The RANZCP supports many of the recommendations made in the ICAC report, especially the recommendations made to align management responsibilities with clinical governance.
‘The ICAC report, like the 2017 Chief Psychiatrist’s report, indicates that the failings at the Oakden facility reflect a service with deficits in governance over a long period of time, resulting in neglect of resourcing and the absence of a workable model of care.
‘Older people with severe mental illness, behavioural problems or the symptoms of severe dementia are particularly vulnerable populations that require well-resourced and governed specialist care in purpose-built environments.
‘Old age psychiatry is vulnerable within the public hospital system, as it lacks both an adequate voice and public profile. Ensuring sufficient and sustained funding of old age psychiatry services is an important step in preventing a similar situation.
‘The RANZCP calls on the state and territory governments to make Health Networks accountable for any funding for aged mental health services that they receive,’ Dr Jenkins said.
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The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists is a membership organisation that prepares medical specialists in the field of psychiatry, supports and enhances clinical practice, advocates for people affected by mental illness and advises governments on mental health care. For information about our work, our members or our history, visit www.ranzcp.org.