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Barrett Adolescent Centre: Behind Queensland’s flawed mental health decisions

Tony Moore reports in the Brisbane Times (18.7.16) on the outcomes of the Commission of Inquiry, headed by Supreme Court Justice Margaret Wilson QC, into the 2013 decision by the Newman LNP Government to close the Barrett Adolescent Centre mental health facility.

‘In one simple paragraph, Commissioner Margaret Wilson revealed one of Queensland’s saddest health policy bungles since the Health payroll disaster began to unravel in 2007.

‘And the first warning – about re-directing $16 million away from mental health funding – was made back in November 2012 by the National Mental Health Commission when the new LNP government shifted $16 million from mental health for budget savings.

‘The flawed decision-making involved the failure to provide mental health care to ‘”some of the most vulnerable Queenslanders”; troubled teenagers who for 30 years had used Wacol’s Barrett Adolescent Centre.

‘All specialist psychiatric advice was not to close Wacol’s Barrett Adolescent Centre in 2013 until a replacement facility was built.

‘Justice Wilson’s Commission of Inquiry found the decision to close the centre was made at a meeting on July 15, 2013 attended by former health minister Lawrence Springborg, when no replacement facilities were available.’

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