Improving mental health services at the AMC


The ACT Government’s Response to ACT Auditor-General’s Report into Management of Detainee Mental Health Service at the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC) was tabled today and will deliver safer, higher-quality mental health care for people at the AMC.

Ten recommendations have been agreed, eight recommendations agreed in principle and one noted recommendation which will be delivered through a different tool than listed in the report. The recommendations vary across improvements to clinical services, staff training, education and support, culturally appropriate and safe services, governance, and strategic planning.

The response will better meet people’s mental health needs, including the addition of a Digital Health Record which will go live in November 2022 to improve record management so people in the AMC will receive the right care based on their health needs history.

There will also be a new suicide assessment tool for custodial settings to better screen people at risk of suicide or self-harm and ensure they receive the appropriate care for their needs. The Connecting with People tool will roll out across CHS settings, including AMC, to address this recommendation from the ACT Auditor-General.

The ACT Government will also deliver a Justice Health Strategy by the end of 2022 to improve health services across the entire justice system, including the courts and community correction orders, and provide appropriate support to all levels of need.

Minister for Justice Health, Emma Davidson, said that mental health care must be equitable and fair across Canberra, including for people involved in the justice system and custodial settings.

“Better mental health care for people in the AMC means they will have their needs better supported while in the facility, and more likely to continue support once they return to the community,” Minister Davidson said.

“Currently in the AMC, screening processes require the individual to provide information about their medical history and needs which can impact the type of care they receive. The addition of the Digital Health Record will ensure better record keeping of health needs so that people receive the right care, including appropriate cultural support.

“There will also be better discharge planning which will establish clear pathways between the different organisations and directorates working within the AMC, so that when someone leaves AMC their mental health care continues as they reintegrate with the community.”

The ACT Government will deliver these actions in a culturally appropriate and safe way, so everyone has effective, high-quality mental health care which best supports their needs. The agreed recommendations will be implemented by 31 December 2023.

Canberra Health services, the ACT Health Directorate through Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Services, and the Justice and Community Safety Directorate, specifically ACT Corrective Services (ACTCS), each have roles and responsibilities in the provision of mental health services at AMC. The respective roles will be further clarified through the development of the Justice Health Strategy and embedded in governance improvements.