Paramedics and ACT mental health legislation

Ellen J. Bradley, Ruth Townsend, Michael Eburn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Introduction: On 15 May 2014, the Minister for Health, The Hon Katy Gallagher presented the Mental Health (Treatment and Care) Amendment Bill 2014 ('the Bill') to the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly (1). The Bill was subsequently passed on 30 October 2014. One recommendation contained in the proposed Bill was to extend powers of apprehension, which are currently only held by police officers, to approved ACT paramedics. The power may be exercised without regard to the patient's decision making capacity. This paper explores some of the legal and ethical issues associated with the proposed legislation. Methods: This paper reviews the Bill in light of underlying legal and ethical principles that are relevant to the treatment of the mentally ill and paramedic practice. Results: It is demonstrated that there are arguments both in favour of, and against the proposal to grant paramedics powers of apprehension. Conclusion: Whether allowing paramedics to detain a person who is mentally ill will work in the best interests of the patient remains to be seen but caution must be exercised to protect the paramedic/patient relationship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalAustralasian Journal of Paramedicine
Volume12
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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Allied Health Personnel
Legislation
Mental Health
Mentally Ill Persons
Australian Capital Territory
Clergy
Police
Ethics
Decision Making
Delivery of Health Care
Health
Therapeutics

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Bradley, Ellen J. ; Townsend, Ruth ; Eburn, Michael. / Paramedics and ACT mental health legislation. In: Australasian Journal of Paramedicine. 2015 ; Vol. 12, No. 4. pp. 1-6.
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Paramedics and ACT mental health legislation. / Bradley, Ellen J.; Townsend, Ruth; Eburn, Michael.

In: Australasian Journal of Paramedicine, Vol. 12, No. 4, 2015, p. 1-6.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Townsend, Ruth

AU - Eburn, Michael

N1 - Includes bibliographical references.

PY - 2015

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AB - Introduction: On 15 May 2014, the Minister for Health, The Hon Katy Gallagher presented the Mental Health (Treatment and Care) Amendment Bill 2014 ('the Bill') to the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly (1). The Bill was subsequently passed on 30 October 2014. One recommendation contained in the proposed Bill was to extend powers of apprehension, which are currently only held by police officers, to approved ACT paramedics. The power may be exercised without regard to the patient's decision making capacity. This paper explores some of the legal and ethical issues associated with the proposed legislation. Methods: This paper reviews the Bill in light of underlying legal and ethical principles that are relevant to the treatment of the mentally ill and paramedic practice. Results: It is demonstrated that there are arguments both in favour of, and against the proposal to grant paramedics powers of apprehension. Conclusion: Whether allowing paramedics to detain a person who is mentally ill will work in the best interests of the patient remains to be seen but caution must be exercised to protect the paramedic/patient relationship.

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KW - Jurisprudence

KW - Mental competency

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