Max – Individual needs (medical) and public mental health services

Complaint story about individual medical needs in a Victorian public mental health service.

Please note: this complaint story includes experiences of ableism.

What Max told us

Max contacted the MHCC to say that his medical needs weren’t properly met during a recent inpatient admission. Max told us that he has a number of medical conditions that affect his mobility. At times they mean he needs a wheelchair and help getting in and out of bed.

Max’s rights

Victoria’s Mental Health Act 2014 and its principles protect the rights of people who are receiving mental health treatment from a public mental health service. The principles most relevant to Max’s situation are as follows:

b) People receiving mental health services should be provided those services with the aim of bringing about the best possible therapeutic outcomes and promoting recovery and full participation in community life.

f) People receiving mental health services should have their medical and other health needs, including any alcohol and other drug problems, recognised and responded to.

Max’s experience raised concerns about the physical environment of the inpatient unit, such as the layout of the unit for people with mobility issues.

What we did

We asked Max what outcomes he was seeking from making a complaint. He said he wanted the service to respond better to people with additional medical and physical support needs.

We contacted the service to express Max’s concerns and to seek their response. The service manager reviewed Max’s health records and spoke with the staff involved in Max’s treatment and care. It was agreed by all that the MHCC would facilitate a meeting so that Max could talk directly with staff.

At the meeting, the service manager apologised to Max for his experiences as an inpatient. She acknowledged there were areas for improvement and outlined the changes the service had made since Max’s admission. These included purchasing mobility aids and ensuring assessments considered people’s physical requirements and environmental safety.

Max told us he was relieved something good had come from making his complaint.

Please note: names and some details in this complaint story have been omitted to protect the identity of those involved.

Reviewed 21 April 2021

Mental Health Complaints Commissioner (MHCC)

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