Community Visitors Panels
A Community Visitors Panel is established for each approved treatment facility in the Territory. Each panel has three members, a Medical Practitioner or Health Practitioner , a Legal Practitioner and a Community Member.
I have been a Community Visitor for mental health since 2007 and a Panel member for AMT since 2013. People are often at a dark time in their lives when they are being treated by the relevant service, feel very vulnerable, and without power and control.
It has been a privilege to be invited by them to assist them in exercising their rights.
In the main, my experience of staff in these services is that they are dedicated and motivated by the best interests of the clients.
A lot of the CVP work has been facilitating communication between clients and staff, helping the client’s voice be heard by an already open and willing audience.
Community Visitor and CV Panel Chair
Panels visit the approved treatment facilities (ie the inpatient facilities) at least once every six months. During these visits they inquire into matters such as:
- the quality of assessment, treatment and care provided to clients;
- how well information is provided about complaints and legal rights;
- the level of opportunities and facilities for recreation, education, training and rehabilitation; and
- the extent to which the principle of the least restrictive alternative guides the way clients are treated.
The panel then meets with Management to discuss and attempt to resolve any issues that arise from their visit and any previous visits.
After every visit to a facility, the Chairperson of the Panel must forward a report of the visit to the Principal Community Visitor. The report will detail the panel’s findings, and may include recommendations about any unresolved issues.