This revised Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is a result of ongoing constructive consultation and collaboration between NSW Health (Including NSW Ambulance) and NSW Police Force. For our staff who respond to and care for people in the community and in our hospitals, this MOU sets out the principles to guide how we will work together to deliver these services.
For people with a mental illness or a mental disorder, this MOU is underpinned by the objects of the Mental Health Act 2007 No 8 (MHA) namely:
- to provide for the care and treatment of, and to promote the recovery of persons who are mentally ill or mentally disordered, and
- to facilitate the care and treatment of those persons through community care facilities, and
- to facilitate the provision of hospital care for those persons on a voluntary basis where appropriate and, in a limited number of situations, on an involuntary basis, and
- while protecting the civil rights of those persons, to give an opportunity for those persons to have access to appropriate care and, where necessary, to provide for treatment for their own protection or the protection of others, and
- to facilitate the involvement of those persons, and persons caring for them, in decisions involving appropriate care and treatment.
Together we identified the opportunity to broaden the scope of the MOU to encompass other shared situations. This revised MOU includes a section on patients in police custody (other than under the MHA or Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act (MHFPA) who are brought to a health facility, and a section on the management of public safety issues in health settings.
The wellbeing and safety of the person and the safety of staff involved in their care is paramount. We recognise that resources across all the agencies and services vary and fluctuate particularly in rural and remote areas. Therefore it is important that we adopt a flexible, solution focussed approach aimed at optimising outcomes for the person, the safety of everyone and the efficiency of the broader emergency response system.
Successful implementation and operation of the MOU requires a commitment from our staff to work cooperatively every time we are called on to work together. Ongoing education across and within our agencies is central to ensuring there is a shared understanding of the principles promoted in the MOU. We ask you to familiarise yourselves with the revised MOU and to work collaboratively to ensure that the wellbeing and safety of the person accessing our services and the safety of staff involved in their care, remain the focus of our collective efforts.