#155 COVID-19 minimum standards and PPE in mental health settings


16 April 2020

Recent discussions amongst AMA Victoria’s Section of Psychiatry have focused on the response to the COVID-19 outbreak in mental health care settings across inpatient and outpatient services, in both the public and private sectors. 

There appears to be a significant disparity in the standards and level of response in different services to essentially similar clinical scenarios. Some services appear to have been very proactive with clear structured responses, while others have been less structured in providing direction and personal protective equipment (PPE). Whilst there has been collaboration between some services in formulating their response, we have noted there are also specialised state-wide services that are operating in isolation.

AMA Victoria is advocating for the establishment of minimum standards for processes, guidelines and PPE for all Victorian mental health services, as part of the response to this outbreak. We anticipate further challenges in upcoming weeks; such as instances where patients have active COVID-19 infection but also require psychiatric hospital admission. This will need further service considerations about patient and staff safety and risk.

The Section of Psychiatry would like to hear from clinicians at the coalface about their experiences, but also examples of local standards that have been developed in attempting to ensure optimal care. We will continue to liaise with the DHHS and the Minister for Mental Health and would value your input into our recommendations. Please contact AMA Victoria’s Communication and Advocacy Officer, Lewis Horton at LewisH@amavic.com.au with any suggestions. 

Dr Ajit Selvendra
AMA Victoria Section of Psychiatry Chair

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