About the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist
- The Mental Health Act 2013 (Act) provides for the independent statutory positions of Chief Civil Psychiatrist and Chief Forensic Psychiatrist.
- Together with the Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal and Official Visitors, the Chief Psychiatrists review and oversee the assessment, treatment and care of persons with mental illness.
- Each Chief Psychiatrist is an experienced psychiatrist appointed by the Governor.
- View the Mental Health Act 2013 on the Tasmanian Legislation website or learn more on our website.
The role of the Chief Psychiatrists
The Chief Psychiatrists both work to give:
- patients and staff members clear directions as to their rights and responsibilities
- assessment, treatment and care are given in the least restrictive setting consistent with clinical need, legal and judicial constraints, public safety, and patient health, safety and welfare.
Chief Civil Psychiatrist
The Chief Civil Psychiatrist is responsible for ensuring that the objects of the Act are met for:
- involuntary patients and voluntary inpatients
- the running of approved hospital and approved assessment centres.
Chief Forensic Psychiatrist
The Chief Forensic Psychiatrist is responsible for ensuring that the objects of the Act are met for:
- forensic patients
- involuntary patients who are admitted to a secure mental health unit under the Act
- persons subject to supervision orders
- the running of secure mental health units.
Powers and functions
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 Chief Psychiatrist has:
Ability to intervene
- Each Chief Psychiatrist has the ability to directly intervene with regard to the assessment, treatment and care of any patient.
- This power may be exercised on their 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 makes inquiries and must be satisfied that the intervention is necessary for the patient's health, safety or welfare.
Each Chief Psychiatrist must issue an Annual Report, which the Minister is required to table in Parliament.