Revolving Door Mental Health Policy Puts Public At Risk From Serial Absconder

02 May 2006 archivemedia

Another escape from a South Australian mental health institution raises serious concerns about adequate resourcing and public safety, Shadow Mental Health Minister Michelle Lensink said today.

Ms Lensink said the Opposition had been told that a mental patient with a history of violence absconded last weekend from Woodleigh House at Modbury Hospital – his fourth ‘escape’ in three years.

“In the past, ‘Mr H’ has been detained at the Remand Centre, the City Watchhouse and Yatala Prison,” Ms Lensink said today. “He has scaled an eight metre security fence while absconding from Glenside and has managed to become intoxicated while in Glenside’s secure ward.

“It is of great concern that he is obviously in need of care and treatment but has been allowed to slip away while supposedly under watch at Woodleigh House.

“However, it is of even greater concern that the community has not been advised of Mr H’s escape and has not been advised to exercise caution if approached by him.

“I understand that Mr H does not have permanent living arrangements. He appears to have been left to his own devices although he is clearly someone in need of greater assistance.

“Sadly, Labor’s failure to provide safe and supportive accommodation has led to Mr H going through the ‘revolving door’ between police, mental health and correctional services on a regular basis.

“Minister Gago’s response to questions in Parliament today again indicate that she is either not in control of her portfolio or is not concerned about public safety.

"The public deserves answers from Minister Gago and the Rann Government immediately.”