James Nash House

20 Nov 2007 questionsarchive

I seek leave to make an explanation before asking the Minister for Health and Substance Abuse a question about catering at James Nash House.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I have been contacted by a constituent who advises me that nursing staff working at James Nash House will no longer be provided with milk. If staff wish to take their own milk to work, they must produce a receipt—not to obtain a refund but to prove that they purchased the milk privately. I understand that this was a verbal directive, and it has been confirmed with catering staff at Glenside that this is the policy. I understand that nursing staff at the facility do 12-hour shifts, from seven until seven, and that for operational and security reasons—that is, in case of emergency—they are not allowed to exit the facility during their shift. My questions are:

1. Is it the government's policy that specialised staff, who are authorised to administer schedule 8 drugs and drugs of dependence, cannot be trusted with milk?

2. Will this new policy be extended to other sectors of the Public Service and, indeed, to other staff at James Nash House, such as psychiatrists, OTs or the rest of the Public Service?

3. Is this part of the government's genius recruitment strategy to attract and retain people into our deplorably under-resourced forensic mental health sector?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for Environment and Conservation, Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Minister Assisting the Minister for Health) (14:33): I thank the honourable member for her most important question—breathtaking really. I am not aware of any such practice or policy. I have to say that not much leaves me speechless, but this does. However, not to let the side down, I am more than happy to investigate these allegations. We know very well that members opposite have, on more than one occasion, come into this chamber with inaccurate information and ill-founded allegations. As I said, I am more than happy to investigate whether or not this is so and investigate the matter thoroughly.

The role of our clinical staff, as well as our support staff, in Mental Health Services, and our health services for that matter, is vital to the care and protection afforded to those in our community who require such services. Clearly, it is in our interest to ensure that we look after our staff well. As I said, I am more than happy to investigate the allegations that the honourable member has made.

The PRESIDENT: It sounds like the cow has jumped over the moon again.