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The Review of Rural Mental Health Services South Australia was commissioned by the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist (OCP) on behalf of the Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing in response to a recommendation by the Deputy State Coroner in his inquest on the death of the late Mr Theo Papageorgiou. The Reviewers were Associate Professor Mathew Coleman, Professor Russell Roberts, and Ms Lyn English AM.

The terms of reference for the review are provided below on this web page.

The Office thanks the reviewers for their extensive work in preparing the report. The advocacy of Mr Jack and Mrs Poppy Papageorgiou, for Rural Mental Health, in memory of Theo, is acknowledged.

A copy of the Review Report and the SA Health Response are attached on the following links

SA Review of Rural Mental Health Services Report Final May

Final Response To The Review Of Rural Mental Health Services In South Australia

Terms of Reference:

The review is sought to comply with the recommendations of the Coroner of South Australia as outlined in the recommendations of the Inquest into the death of Mr Theo Papageorgiou.

The Coroner recommended

A comprehensive review be conducted in relation to clinical resources in respect of mental health services in all rural regions in South Australia. The review should be conducted with a view to;

(i) Community Mental Health Teams in regional areas being staffed by a resident team consultant psychiatrist and a resident psychiatric registrar. It is recognised that in order for this recommendation to be implemented there will be a need to incentivise these positions.

(ii) ensuring that there is continuity of care in relation to the management of mental health patients in regional areas.

(iii) hospitals in regional areas that administer mental health services being provided with the ability and resources to administer level 2 Inpatient Treatment Orders.

It should be noted that recommendation (iii) requires some interpretation. A change was already made in 2017 so that rural inpatient units were gazetted to admit patients on level 2 ITOs, which enables involuntary stays greater than 7 days and up to 42 days. For the purposes of this review, the reviewers are not asked to consider the technical legal ability to accept such patients, but the clinical capability of units to care for patients who may have greater acuity or more complex needs and require a longer admission.

It is expected that the reviewers will provide conclusions related to the current situation of service delivery as per these terms of reference and improvement recommendations.

It is expected that such recommendations can then inform rural mental health planning both statewide, and in local health networks.

This report is expected to cover all age groups. However a series of inspections of Older Adult services has already occurred with recommendations made, and a more general review of Child and Adolescent Mental Health services is also anticipated. This review can cross reference conclusions from this other work.