A senior psychiatrist says he believes the closure of a youth mental health unit in Brisbane would cost lives, an inquiry has been told.
A Commission of Inquiry is looking into the former LNP government’s decision to close the Barrett Adolescent Centre in January 2014.
Within eight months of the centre’s closure, three former patients — Will Fowell, Caitlin Wilkinson and Talieha Nebauer — had died.
The inquiry is investigating the decisions made and the care provided to patients at that time.
Photo: Will Fowell, Talieha Nebauer and Caitlin Wilkinson Whiticker died after the Barrett Centre closed in 2014. (Supplied)
Today, the inquiry heard from three of the members of an expert panel commissioned to recommended alternatives to the Barrett centre.
Professor Phillip Hazel, who runs a similar residential facility in New South Wales, told the inquiry the committee had unanimously supported keeping a facility like the Barrett.
Another panel member, Dr James Scott, said he was firmly of the view at the time that without the high level of care provided to patients he had referred to the unit, “it was probable or at the very least possible, that some of them would die”.
Dr Scott also told the inquiry he believed the person heading the expert group was in a very difficult situation because panel members believed a facility like the Barrett centre was essential, but it had been made clear funding would not be available for that.
Yesterday, the inquiry heard that plans to build a new residential mental health centre for adolescents in Queensland were scrapped because of budget overruns.
The Barrett Adolescent Centre Commission of Inquiry is examining the reasons for the closure and the care and support provided for former patients, their families and staff.
This article first appeared on ‘ABC’ on 17 February 2016.