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Mentally ill detainees "dumped" against advice

Glenside mentally ill detainees "dumped" against psychiatrist advice

"Regardless of the serious concerns expressed about "Mr X" in the latest Ombudsman's report into the dealings with what has now become Australia's longest incarcerated mentally ill detainee, he remains in danger, unless the Immigration Minister takes appropriate action and fully applies her Duty of Care obligations," says WA Rights group Project SafeCom, "and we cannot see another solution than psychiatric treatment in full, for as long as it takes - and certainly no renewed incarceration."

The remarks came as concerns were expressed by staff of the South Australian Public Advocate during a meeting yesterday evening of the 'Circle of Friends' project, about Adelaide's Glenside psychiatric clinic and hospital "dumping" mentally ill immigration detainees into the community before their treatment has been completed.

WA Rights Group Project SafeCom has received information from concerned citizen Robyn Clothier, who attended the meeting, that immigration detainees have been returned from Glenside to the Baxter Immigration Detention Centre against treating psychiatrists' advice, while Ms Clothier also reported that on the eve of the South Australian State election and its accompanying media focus away from the issue, patients were quietly transferred to a motel unit in the vicinity of the hospital.

According to Ms Mary Alstrom from the SA Public Advocate’s office, who spoke at yesterday evening's meeting at the Pilgrim Church in Adelaide, SA's mental health system is under serious pressure, causing Glenside to set a time limit on the treatment of patients referrals from Immigration placed in Glenside hospital.

"Once again we see the hapless victims of Australia's cruel detention policy draw the short straw and being shoved from pillar to post," said spokesman Jack H Smit.

"The ambivalence of Senator Vanstone in Parliament when she tabled Mr X's report - who left open the possibility of the man being sent back from Glenside to Baxter - was predictable, but another indictment on the Minister's two-faced commitment to change the DIMA culture. Mr X - as well as all others whose mental health has been destroyed by ongoing incarceration in our 'refugee jails' - deserves a top-quality medical treatment, a humanitarian visa because of what we have done to the man over the last six years, and full compensation as long as he will be unable to care for himself as an independent Australian resident in the community," Mr Smit concluded.

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