Choice On The Agenda In Australian Psych Wards

A story in The Sydney Morning Herald sports the headline, Patients want more choice, says mental health survey.

The largest EVER survey of Australian mental health service users indicates that they want more choice. 3500 psychiatric prisoners and service users took the survey intended to be used as feedback for reform.

The Action and Change in NSW Mental Health Services report found 57 per cent of hospital inpatients found it difficult to see a doctor when they felt they needed to and 55 per cent said they did not have enough choice about their treatment.

80 % of those in community care felt their privacy was sufficiently protected and that they were treated with respect.

This survey was a part of a program that is aimed at instituting change.

Changes in response to patient complaints included increasing doctors’ rounds, providing patients with more information on their rights and notepads to record it, and increasing carer involvement, the report said.

More than 100 service providers utilized the survey with 49 % implementing changes.

I hope this is the start of some action to stir things up a little in the mental health system in Australia. The problem with patient rights is that they often involve human rights violations. It is mental health law itself that separates the mental patients from the rest of society (i.e. first class citizenry) through state sanctioned assault and deprivation of liberty. Perhaps Australian mental health service users will be able to detect this discrepancy and implement more fundamental changes in the future.

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3 Responses

  1. Good to see this happening. There are similar developments in the UK: Service user experience in adult mental health

  2. I think it’s just another pr furphy, raising awareness of the need for better quality mental health care, in other words more funding, more false diagnoses

    I hate using quotes to express sarcasm, it makes a post look churlish, but you know where I’d put them.

    • I think the more choices you have, the better off you are likely to be, Rod. I wouldn’t want to limit those choices. The problem with the mental health system as it is is the paucity of choices within it a person has. When no choice is a state hospital (i.e. forced psychiatric imprisonment), choice is less restrictive and money saving.

      My quotes are not about sarcasm actually. I put quotations around words that I feel I wouldn’t use personally, but that the mental health system uses with impunity. Words like “mental illness”. “Mental illness” is a semantic absurdity. People have troubles and personal problems, being human, but then some doctor comes along and pathologises those troubles into the sphere of the perpetually broken. The doctor then assumes the role of perpetual unrepair-man, and if that’s good news, spare me the bad news.

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