Office of the Chief Psychiatrist

LATEST NEWS FROM THE CHIEF PSYCHIATRISTS 

The Chief Psychiatrists have issued some Practice Points, designed to supplement information provided in the Standing Orders and Clinical Guidelines.

Download the latest Practice Points and read other communications from the Chief Psychiatrist. 

 

About the Chief Civil Psychiatrist and Chief Forensic Psychiatrist 

The Mental Health Act 2013 provides for the independent statutory positions of Chief Civil Psychiatrist, and Chief Forensic Psychiatrist.

Together with the Mental Health Tribunal and Official Visitors, the Chief Psychiatrists provide an important review and oversight role in relation to the assessment, treatment and care of persons with mental illness.

Each of the Chief Psychiatrists is an experienced psychiatrist appointed by the Governor.

The Chief Civil Psychiatrist is responsible for ensuring that the objects of the Act are met for involuntary patients and voluntary inpatients, and the running of approved hospital and approved assessment centres.

The Chief Forensic Psychiatrist, in turn, is responsible for ensuring that the objects of the Act are met for forensic patients, for involuntary patients who are admitted to a secure mental health unit under the Act and for persons subject to supervision orders, and the running of secure mental health units.

This includes ensuring that patients and staff members are given clear direction as to their rights and responsibilities, and ensuring that assessment, treatment and care is given in the least restrictive setting consistent with clinical need, legal and judicial constraints, public safety, and patient health, safety and welfare.

The Chief Psychiatrists' powers and functions are set out in the Act and include:

  • Issuing Standing Orders to direct controlling authorities, medical practitioners, nurses or other persons in the exercise of clinical or non-clinical procedures under the Act or other Acts
  • Issuing Clinical Guidelines to help controlling authorities, medical practitioners, nurses or other persons in the exercise of their responsibilities in respect of any treatment, clinical procedure or other clinical matter under the Act or other Acts
  • Approving forms
  • Approving the form of rights statements required to be given to patients at various points in their assessment, treatment and care pathway

Each of the Chief Psychiatrists has issued a number of Standing Orders and Clinical Guidelines and approved a range of forms for use under the Act.

Each of the Chief Psychiatrists has approved a number of Statements of Rights and means of mechanical restraint.

Download the Chief Civil Psychiatrist Approval of Means of Restraint

Download the Chief Forensic Psychiatrist Approval of Means of Restraint

Both the Chief Civil Psychiatrist and the Chief Forensic Psychiatrist has the ability to intervene directly with regard to the assessment, treatment and care of any patient. This power may be exercised on the Chief Psychiatrist's own motion, or at the request of the patient or any other person that the Chief Psychiatrist thinks has a proper interest in the patient's health, safety or welfare.

On receiving a request to directly intervene the Chief Psychiatrist to whom the request has been directed is first required to make inquiries into the matter, and be satisfied based on those inquiries that the intervention is necessary for the patient's health, safety or welfare.

The roles of Chief Civil Psychiatrist and Chief Forensic Psychiatrist are held by Dr Len Lambeth. Dr Lambeth can be contacted on email chief.psychiatrist@dhhs.tas.gov.au

Each of the Chief Psychiatrists is required to issue an Annual Report, which the Minister is required to table in Parliament.

Statutory Appointments

The Chief Civil Psychiatrist and Chief Forensic Psychiatrist each have the ability to approve medical practitioners and nurses to perform particular statutory functions under the Act. Each Chief Psychiatrist may also appoint persons as Mental Health Officers and the Chief Forensic Psychiatrist may approve persons for the purposes of provisions of the Act relating to forensic patients. 

Find out more about Statutory Appointments