Office of the Chief Psychiatrist

About the Chief Psychiatrists

The Mental Health Act 2013 provides for the independent statutory positions of Chief Civil Psychiatrist, and Chief Forensic Psychiatrist. To view the Mental Health Act 2013, please visit the Tasmanian Legislation website. To find out more about the Mental Health Act, please visit the Department of Health Mental Health Act web pages.

Together with the Mental Health Tribunal and Official Visitors, the Chief Psychiatrists provide an important review and oversight role in relation to the assessment, treatment and care of persons with mental illness. Each of the Chief Psychiatrists is an experienced psychiatrist appointed by the Governor.

The Chief Civil Psychiatrist is responsible for ensuring that the objects of the Act are met for involuntary patients and voluntary inpatients, and the running of approved hospital and approved assessment centres.

The Chief Forensic Psychiatrist, in turn, is responsible for ensuring that the objects of the Act are met for forensic patients, for involuntary patients who are admitted to a secure mental health unit under the Act and for persons subject to supervision orders, and the running of secure mental health units.

This includes ensuring that patients and staff members are given clear direction as to their rights and responsibilities, and ensuring that assessment, treatment and care is given in the least restrictive setting consistent with clinical need, legal and judicial constraints, public safety, and patient health, safety and welfare.

The Chief Psychiatrists' powers and functions are set out in the Act and include:

  • Issuing Standing Orders to direct controlling authorities, medical practitioners, nurses or other persons in the exercise of clinical or non-clinical procedures under the Act or other Acts
  • Issuing Clinical Guidelines to help controlling authorities, medical practitioners, nurses or other persons in the exercise of their responsibilities in respect of any treatment, clinical procedure or other clinical matter under the Act or other Acts
  • Approving forms
  • Approving the form of rights statements required to be given to patients at various points in their assessment, treatment and care pathway

Each of the Chief Psychiatrists have

Both the Chief Civil Psychiatrist and the Chief Forensic Psychiatrist have the ability to intervene directly with regard to the assessment, treatment and care of any patient. This power may be exercised on the Chief Psychiatrist's own motion, or at the request of the patient or any other person that the Chief Psychiatrist thinks has a proper interest in the patient's health, safety or welfare.

On receiving a request to directly intervene, the Chief Psychiatrist to whom the request has been directed is first required to make inquiries into the matter, and be satisfied based on those inquiries that the intervention is necessary for the patient's health, safety or welfare.

Each of the Chief Psychiatrists is required to issue an Annual Report, which the Minister is required to table in Parliament.

Please visit Communications from the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist to view Practise Points, designed to supplement information provided in the Standing Orders and Clinical Guidelines, and view the Annual Reports.

Information for consumers, carers and the community sector

Click here to view information for consumers, carers and the community sector. This page includes a range of fact sheets, including an overview of changes to the Act, information about Assessment and Treatment Orders under the Act, and Statements of Rights for involuntary patients, forensic patients, and a Statement of Rights regarding seclusion and restraint.

Statutory Appointments

The Chief Civil Psychiatrist and Chief Forensic Psychiatrist each have the ability to approve medical practitioners and nurses to perform particular statutory functions under the Act. Each Chief Psychiatrist may also appoint persons as Mental Health Officers and the Chief Forensic Psychiatrist may approve persons for the purposes of provisions of the Act relating to forensic patients.

Find out more about Statutory Appointments

Contact the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist

Office of the Chief Psychiatrist

GPO Box 125
Hobart Tasmania 7000

Ph: (03) 6166 0778

Email: chief.psychiatrist@health.tas.gov.au

If you need immediate assistance or support, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Mental Health Helpline on 1800 332 388.