Collateral History

The registrar determines that, given the level of concern and the patient's apparent lack of capacity to engage in informed consent to release information about his presence, they will call the mother.

Information from the community files and mother indicates that the patient probably stopped his antipsychotic medication about 2 months ago and had left the home and was unaccounted for the last 3 weeks. The case manager reports that the patient had made threats against public officials in the past although no physical violence has occurred prior to this episode. The psychiatrist reviews the man the following day and confirms that he is mentally ill under the Act.

It is decided that Mark Zuck will need at least a week in the hospital and he is placed on the list for the next Tribunal review.

Legal Hearings in Psychiatry

Mental Health Inquiries are often one of the rare times that trainee doctors come into formal contact with the legal system in Australia. At an inquiry, you are often required to prepare a written report and justify your team's management plan. You may be cross-examined by a lawyer representing the patient. You may be particularly questioned about whether hospital is the least restrictive care and whether the treatment and conditions being provided are also least restrictive.

This can all seem a bit foreign at first. Watch the video above from the HNE trainees about appearing at inquiries.