7 April 2011

Katy responds to the Burnet report

| johnboy
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The matrix management nightmare of the ACT Government would be terrible to work for, and is awful to live under. But it is excellent for those at the top seeking to avoid responsibility for their failures.

This could perhaps explain why the Minister for Health has announced the Government’s interim response to the Burnet report rather than the Minister for Corrections.

Here’s what she’s promising to do:

As part of its interim response, the Government has agreed to undertake further work on trialling a needle and syringe program (NSP) at the AMC. This will include looking at potential models, how they work within the prison setting, barriers to implementation and how to overcome them.

“I have asked former MLA and ACT Health Minister Mr Michael Moore, currently CEO of the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA), to undertake this next stage of work,” Ms Gallagher announced.

The PHAA brings together those seeking to debate scientific evidence, policy and program evaluation and options for the further and better development of public health in Australia, representing a wide variety of professional public health workers.

“The ACT Government remains committed to continuously improving the health outcomes for all detainees in the Alexander Maconachie Centre in order to achieve lifelong improvements to their health and wellbeing. Taking a holistic health approach is critical in achieving outcomes for patients in the justice system, and that is exactly what ACT Health is intent on delivering. That is why we commissioned the Burnet report and will act on its recommendations,” Ms Gallagher concluded.

In the spirit of doing as little as possible the government will now consult on its interim response.

UPDATE: The report and the government interim response are now online.

The report has a lot to say but here’s the hot button issue of drug use:

There is a high prevalence of lifetime and current pre-incarceration use of both licit and illicit drugs among prisoners at the AMC. The evaluation found that drug use, including injecting drug use, was occurring at the AMC and this use contributed to disease transmission risk (i.e., injecting with used syringes).

Diversion of prescription drugs was reported to the evaluation team, although this appeared less common than the acquisition of drugs that were trafficked into the AMC. Trafficking of drugs into the prison was identified. Supply reduction activities were perceived as interrupting the supply of drugs into the AMC, but not halting supply. High rates of tobacco consumption and pre-incarceration problematic alcohol consumption (among those reporting consumption) among AMC prisoners was reported. Programs that specifically address licit drugs, such as alcohol and tobacco, as well as those that address illicit drug use are required.

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Mental Health Worker9:22 pm 07 Apr 11

Seems like a sensible response. God forgive me for agreeing with James_Ryan, again.

Also I don’t recognise the quotes from the Report, which suggests it improved markedly over the earlier draft wot I saw.


Whoever thought of securing Michael Moore to investigate options for a needle exchange has done very well indeed.

This is far from “doing as little as possible” johnboy. Whack them when they deserve it, but praise is due sometimes too.

It seems a shame that recommendations to improve testing for blood borne viruses haven’t been more positively received by government. I suppose government has the most to lose from developing procedures to more accurately determine incident cases during imprisonment. I mean why would the government invest in measures that will produce evidence to be used against it?

Pity about the media release. Who wrote that rubbish?

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