Minister for Mental Health Mary Wooldridge said today the appointment of Lynne Coulson Barr as Victoria’s first Mental Health Complaints Commissioner is a landmark in the delivery of public mental health services.
“The Victorian Coalition Government is investing $3.8 million to establish the Mental Health Complaints Commissioner to ensure complaints regarding public mental health services are addressed and resolved in a timely and responsive manner,” Ms Wooldridge said.
Ms Coulson Barr said her initial priorities would be to establish practices that respond to the extensive feedback received from people with mental illness, families and service providers on the need for new approaches to complaints.
“My vision is for every complaint to be seen by services as an opportunity to hear the voice of people living with mental illness and their families, to safeguard rights and to improve public mental health services for everyone,” Ms Coulson Barr said.
“The Coalition Government has listened to people receiving mental health services and their families because we are focused on continually improving those services for the benefit of patients and their families,” Ms Wooldridge said.
“Ms Coulson Barr has a deep understanding of the challenges faced by people with mental illness, their families and carers, as well as experience working with the services and peak bodies that will engage with the Mental Health Complaints Commissioner.
“The Commissioner is part of the Government’s new mental health legislative framework and is essential to improving how we treat and care for Victorians with mental illness.
“The Mental Health Complaints Commissioner will have an annual budget of
$2.44 million and her office will be situated alongside the Health Services Commissioner; ensuring a streamlined approach to complaints which involve different parts of the health system,” Ms Wooldridge said.
Ms Coulson Barr will officially take office on 1 July 2014, when Victoria’s new Mental Health Act 2014 comes into effect.