Parliamentary record : Part I debates (16 February 1989)
Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990
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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Thursday 16 February 1989 Mr SPEAKER: Order! The words were 'a blatant lie'. Mr BEll: I unreservedly withdraw the use of the phrase 'a blatant lie'. let me phrase it a little more carefully and a little more accurately. The minister said in his statement: 'I am pleased to be able to report that a progressive and accelerated approach to the development of mental health services has been successful'. I do not think that the family of the patient concerned or the staff of the Tennant Creek Hospital or Ward 1 in Alice Springs would be satisfied that that particular statement truthfully reflects the quality of mental health services for which the minister is responsible. In fact, if the thought crossed their minds that that particular statement was a blatant lie, I would have a great deal of difficulty in convincing them otherwise. Mr Speaker, likewise the self-congratulatory tone of the minister's statement is appalling. Mr Hatton: Only because it embarrasses you. Mr BEll: can see why the members opposite sacked the member for Nightcliff. I wonder if he has actually read the statement or the report which I have just tabled. I have a spare copy and, if an attendant is available, I will ask that it be given to him. He might also like to check out the comments which I made in the adjournment debate on Tuesday night. think that he will find that they were fairly illuminating as well. At page 14 of the statement, the minister said: 'Substantial developments have also occurred in the Alice Springs and Barkly Region'. That is an understatement, to say the least. The problem is that the developments have been of a most regrettable nature and the minister has been somewhat less than honest in attempting to inform the public and this Assembly of what those developments are. The minister went on to say that: 'A Director of Psychiatric Nursing was appointed in September 1988 to act as a member of the Mental Health Executive and coordinate mental health services for thp Centre'. I want to know whether the minister has received a report from the Director of Psychintric Nursing about the lncidents I have spoken of. What happened in Tennant Creek? What happened in Ward 1 of the Alice Springs Hospital? I think it is about time the minister came clean. It is not as though he is unaware of the existence of Ward 1. Also at page 14 of his statement, the minister said: 'Improvements to Ward 1 of Alice Springs Hospital, and erection of an enclosed courtyard for patients, will enable the ward to be more flexible and improve its environment. Acute and medium- to long-term patients will be cared for in Alice Springs, reducing the disruption to their lives'. Given the fact that those people's lives are pretty disrupted now, I really wonder whether, in fact, the minister is capable of delivering the services he claims to be able to deliver. I note with interest that a psychiatric nurse position has been established in Tenna~t Creek and that the minister claims that 'this government initiative has been a most successful venture'. That flies in the face of the report which I tabled this morning. Mr Dale: In one case. 5561
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