Mental Health Care Inquiry

PREMIER Ted Baillieu last night ordered a wide-ranging inquiry into dozens of patient deaths inside Victoria’s mental health system.

The inquiry follows a report in The Saturday Age exposing the high rates of unexpected and unnatural deaths in the state’s mental health wards, and raising serious questions about standards of care and allegations of cover-ups.

Today, The Age publishes new revelations about the use of electric shock therapy in Victoria, with documents showing how hundreds of mentally ill people are forced to undergo the procedure without their consent.

Mr Baillieu’s office last night announced that the state’s Chief Psychiatrist, Ruth Vine, would investigate the way the state’s health services handled all unexpected, unnatural or violent deaths involving mental health inpatients between January 2008 and December 2010.

The investigation follows The Saturday Age’s revelation that 36 Victorians had died in mental health wards during that period.

Dr Vine will examine each hospital internal inquiry into the deaths and whether all recommendations for improvements by health services or the Coroner were acted on or ignored.

To read the full article go to http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/mental-health-care-inquiry-20110905-1juiy.html.