A disturbing new report has revealed that nearly 150 patients with intellectual disabilities in Victoria’s Grampians and Loddon Mallee regions in the last financial year were restrained using chemical or mechanical means and often secluded.
Jeffrey Chan, senior practitioner reported that most of these inmates were given drugs and this was four times more common in government run institutions than non-government-operated facilities. There is a high use of chemical restrainers like tranquillizers and mood stabilizers he said. He urged more consideration for these disabled people.
Marry Wooldridge, mental health spokeswoman for the opposition states confirmed that a total 153 patients in the Grampians region suffered more than 3,200 periods of seclusion, chemical or mechanical restraint. She said, “A person receiving seclusion or restraint in facilities run by the Brumby Government in the Grampians, will, on average, have 49 per cent more treatments than a person in community-run facilities.” She feels that “basic human rights” have been “abused.” She said that there is a serious shortage of caregivers and staff in the government-operated facilities and those available are poorly trained and do not have the support or resources to run other practices. This is a failure of the health system feel many experts.
The Victorian Government is now defending the allegations. Mental Health Minister Lisa Neville said that these restraints were used only in very severe cases. She said, “We want the use of restraints to be reduced but the Disability Act has strict requirements in relation to how it's used…[They] can only be administered by qualified clinicians and only where there is significant risk to the welfare, to the life of the individual or somebody else.”