Miriam Merten
Miriam Merten

Labor accuse government of 'burying' Miriam Merten inquiry

NSW Labor have renewed their calls for a new inquiry into the death of Miriam Merten at Lismore Base Hospital.

A statement from the office of Shadow Minister for Mental Health Tania Mihailuk said despite the public outcry from the shocking release of CCTV footage depicting the "horrific mistreatment" of Ms Merten, the NSW Government had "buried" the very inquiry they agreed to undertake to examine potential breaches of patient care across mental health units.

Last month Labor called for an immediate public inquiry into the resourcing and capacity of mental health units following the release of the CCTV footage which exposed the abuse and mistreatment of Ms Merten.

Instead of commissioning a standalone inquiry with specific terms of reference relating to mental health, the NSW Government buried the mental health inquiry within an existing Public Accounts Committee's Inquiry into the Management of Health Care Delivery in NSW, Shadow Minister for Mental Health Tania Mihailuk said.

With only 10 days left to go, Ms Mihailuk has written to the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee calling for an immediate extension of the short deadline for written submissions and for public hearing dates to be set in locations throughout NSW.

"Labor called for a standalone public inquiry into the resourcing and capacity of mental health units, but instead the NSW Government response has been to bury the community's concerns into an existing Public Accounts Committee inquiry," she said.

"How are people with experience of our mental health system meant to make a submission to an Inquiry that fails in its terms of reference to even refer to mental health?

"It is imperative that the NSW Government extend the short deadline for written submissions given the lack of effort they have put into promoting this inquiry, and for open and transparent public hearings to be held throughout our State.

"The Government has completely failed to raise any kind of awareness to promote responses to this inquiry.

"This begs the question how informed are patients, their families and stakeholders that such an inquiry is on foot and closing its submissions in under 10 days?"

Written submissions close on June 30.

Submissions can be made by emailing pac@parliament.nsw.gov.au or visiting this website.