The Public Advocate, Colleen Pearce, was quoted in Fairfax publications in an article about a lack of transparency in hospitals. She spoke about the difficulties often experienced by Community Visitors trying to access incident reports.
When assaults happen, even Community Visitors from the Public Advocate’s office – the very people whose job it is to act as watchdogs for mental health patients – struggle to obtain the details.
After one particular sexual assault at Barwon Health in 2016, it took Community Visitors five months to get an incident report, despite a departmental code of practice saying they had the right to such information.
Public Advocate Colleen Pearce says this lack of transparency is unacceptable. After all, you can’t fix why you can’t see.
“It is important to know what’s happening in mental health facilities,” she told The Age.
“If Community Visitors are restricted in accessing incident reports, how do they know that the care and treatment expected by the community is being provided, and that people's human rights are being respected and safeguarded?”