Kerry Adjourned – Health Department Files Opened
At the hearing on Wednesday March 11, Kerry O’Malley requested Justice Action’s assistance once again to represent her. A primary issue was to gain access to her medical file to which she and her representative was entitled. The treating team at Penrith had ignored the requests to see the documents. She and JA hadn’t seen what the Health Dept. was saying against her, and therefore couldn’t respond.
Kerry’s support team at Mental Health Review Tribunal’s HQ at Gladesville
The case had last been heard in December 2019, when a three month community treatment order (CTO) was made against her. Kerry’s primary carer, Justice Action, opposed the six-month CTO requested by the Health Department. It continued at the Mental Health Review Tribunal offices in Gladesville with the JA mental team in support.
Kerry, with pastor David Austen, and the Health department was present at the hearing via audio-visual link while on site at Penrith Nepean Hospital.
The Tribunal recognised our right to inspect the file under s.156 Mental Health Act, and thereby ruled for the Health Department files to be opened. For those who have been following the case, Kerry has been struggling to retain autonomy over her mental health and life despite the continued disrespect of the Health industry imposing on her their medication with damaging side effects.
She has a history of forced injections, and gaps of being left alone over many years. During her six-month trip to Ireland in 2019, visiting friends and relatives, she displayed no signs of distress, and took full responsibility controlling her own life.
Justice Action went into the hearing with the intention of laying the basis for the implementation of the Personal Management Plan (PMP). This PMP, designed with Kerry, aims to enhance and provide her with the right to autonomy over her own life and mental health. The combination of medical and social intervention strategies in the PMP is an effective alternative to the forced injections carried out under the CTO.
After deliberation regarding the rights of Justice Action to access Kerry’s medical documents, the Tribunal recognised Justice Action’s entitlement to access the documents as Kerry’s representative, while also being advised of the potential implications it could have on Kerry’s therapeutic relationship.
The case was adjourned until March 26 for hearing. We are still negotiating with the Penrith Mental Health Service about conditions of access to the file.
Justice Action is preparing the basis for an appeal to the Supreme Court if necessary.