Lismore Base Hospital.
Lismore Base Hospital. Cathy Adams

Government plans for review into controversial practice

AN EXPERT panel will tour the state's hospitals as part of an independent review into the practice of seclusion, restraint and observations across the mental health system.

The panel of five, led by NSW Chief Psychiatrist Murray Wright, will visit select hospitals and their acute and intensive care mental health units as well as declared emergency departments.

The review will also include workshops, the opportunity for public submissions as well as an examination into other cases of seclusion and restraint.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard and Mental Health Minister Tanya Davies confirmed the review will consider whether existing legislation, policy, clinical governance and practice standards are consistent with national standards, international best practice and the expectations of patients and the community.


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"No stone will be left unturned, to ensure people living with mental illness in this state are receiving the best possible care and treatment in the least restrictive environment," Mr Hazzard said.

A final report and recommendations will be completed by early December.

The review was triggered after a Coronial inquest into the death of a mother-of-two at Lismore Base Hospital's mental health unit in 2014.

Miriam Merten, 46, died from a brain injury after falling more than 20 times in the hospital's care.

Northern NSW Local Health District CEO Wayne Jones said the Coroner's report into Ms Merten's death revealed it "wasn't a system failure, it was a human failure from the two nurses who were derelict in their duty of care."

Mr Jones and mental heath director Richard Buss are looking forward to participating in the review process.