Mental Health Patients

08 Nov 2005 questionsarchive

I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse a question on the subject of mental health patients and illicit drugs.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Yesterday the member for Finniss in another place asked a question in relation to a fellow by the name of Ben Harvey, an inpatient of the secure ward of Glenside Hospital. I will quote what he said, as follows:

Last Tuesday police were called to Glenside to arrest Mr Ben Harvey because he was under the heavy influence of cannabis and alcohol. Ben Harvey was in a secure ward at Glenside and is the same person who escaped twice in the past 18 months. On 20 July last year, when I had to notify the former minister of health in this place of his escape, I explained to parliament that Mr Ben Harvey was a paranoid schizophrenic with a history of violence. After his arrest last Tuesday Mr Harvey was taken to the CityWatchhouse and charged with breach of parole. He is now being held in Yatala prison. At the start of the Minister for Health’s response he said:

I will refer the issue the member raises to my colleague the Minister for Mental Health.

My question to the minister is: how did an inpatient of a secure ward at Glenside Hospital obtain enough alcohol and cannabis to become heavily intoxicated?

The Hon. CARMEL ZOLLO (Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse): I thought I offered the challenge to the honourable member who asked the question not to continue being the sidekick of the member for Finniss in the other place, otherwise the questions on mental health will become very predictable.

Members interjecting:

The Hon. CARMEL ZOLLO: The same question was asked in the other place yesterday. Nonetheless, I am aware of the incident. I have asked the Director of Mental Health to investigate the matter and ensure that the correct protocols were followed in this instance. As part of that investigation, I have asked for a review of security procedures at Glenside, which prevent drug and alcohol use. Clearly I will have to bring back advice at another time.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I have a supplementary question. Is the minister indicating that drug and alcohol use is currently permitted within Glenside?

The Hon. CARMEL ZOLLO: As I have said, I will bring back advice in relation to this matter.