Parliamentary record : Part I debates (16 February 1989)
Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Thursday 16 February 1989 positions have been established in each region. Clinical and administrative support is provided by the Darwin region and this forms the basis of an effective network of care in the smaller regions. Substantial developments have occurred also in the Alice Springs and Barkly regions. 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 the Centre, and 8 new staffing positions have been created to ensure that the central region can develop a wide range of treatment programs. Improvements to Ward 1 of Alice Springs Hospital and the erection of an enclosed courtyard for patients will enable the ward to be more flexible and will improve its environment. Acute and medium- to long-term patients will be cared for in Alice Springs, reducing the disruption to their lives. I remind honourable members of my definition of the word 'acute' in that circumstance. Mr Bell: What is your definition of 'medium- to long-term' patients? Mr DALE: I thought that would have been apparent. Mr Bell: Whom were you thinking of? Mr DALE: Mr Speaker, I will develop that argument if the honourable member would like me to. He is asking who I am thinking-about. Mr Bell: What sort of patients are you thinking about? Mr DALE: Mr Speaker, once again the member for MacDonnell' wants to identify particular people. I will be happy to expand on my definition when I sum up, after the honourable member has spoken in this debate. As I said, acute medium- to long-term patients will be cared for in Alice Springs, reducing the disruption to their lives. Outpatient services are provided at the Alice Springs Hospital. The child, adult and family teams provide easily accessible services from the community health centre. A community house adjacent to the hospital provides a day centre program which has been very successful. The building has been upgraded recently and additional clinical rooms provided. Consultative and support programs to Correctional Services and Probation and Parole have been formalised and clinical support is provided to the special handling unit in Alice Springs Prison. The recent appointment of a Rural Service Coordinator ensures that services are provided throughout the region and enhances the provision of services to Aboriginal communities. A psychiatric nurse position has been established at Tennant Creek also, and outpatient services are provided. Clinicians from Alice Springs visit regularly to support local services. It is patently clear that this government initiative has bee~ a most successful venture and great credit goes to the dedicated team who have worked hard to provide excellent services to the Territory. Central to the suc.cess of the venture has been the strong patient-and-client focus, recognising the needs of individuals in our community. Our indigenous people and the international nature of the population present challenges to mental health care which are being addressed. Multi-discipline teams have been recruited for sub-programs and recruitment is continuing for others. The team approach 5554
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