My question is to the Minister for Training and Skills representing the Minister for Police (Hon. Gayle Tierney).
When a person is detained under section 351 of the Mental Health Act they are transported to hospital by Police. In most instances a detained person is held until they can be assessed by a mental health professional. Police can legally only leave the patient once he or she is signed over to a Doctor. On average, Police spend up to four hours with a patient. In some Police Service Areas this can take away the only Police unit available in the area for half of the shift and it is not uncommon that when responding to threats of suicide, Police can have multiple calls and be tied up for an entire shift.
Question: Is the Minister able to provide any insight into current practice undertaken by Police and Paramedics when waiting for patients to be assessed in Victorian hospitals?
Supplementary Question: Can the Minister indicate whether or not there is potentially a less resource intensive process being explored which sees PSO’s rather than Police, look after patients in hospital prior to assessment?