Department Of Human Services, Victoria, Australia
Victoria's Mental Health Services

Mental Health Update - December 1999July 2000

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High Security Hospital Opens for Mentally Ill Offenders

The Hon John Thwaites, MP, Minister for Health, opened the new Thomas Embling Hospital for mentally ill offenders on 18 April.

The new purpose designed and built, state-of-the-art hospital, located adjacent to the old Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital in Yarra Bend Road, is operated by the Victorian Institute of Forensic Mental Health-known as Forensicare.

Featuring improved levels of care for patients, the hospital will house up to 120 people and include a special 10 bed women's unit-the first such unit in Australia.

Patients of the hospital will include prisoners who have become seriously mentally ill and require transfer from prison as well as those found not guilty or unfit to plead by virtue of mental impairment who come directly from court.

The new hospital will double Victoria's existing forensic bed capacity-alleviating the current situation where prisoners requiring specialist care are required to wait in jail until a forensic bed becomes available.

Minister Thwaites said 'the design of the new hospital successfully balances the need for high levels of security with attractive patient accommodation and excellence in treatment.'

'It will mean patients will be able to quickly access quality treatment in a suitable secure environment. Research shows that specialist care and treatment of mentally ill offenders can significantly reduce the number of patients who re-offend after release,' Minister Thwaites said.

Speaking at the opening, Professor Paul Mullen, Clinical Director of the Victorian Institute of Forensic Mental Health and Professor of Forensic Psychiatry at Monash University, said that the Thomas Embling Hospital will be the key component of Victoria's forensic mental health service.

'This service has two overarching aims-to provide mental health care to prisoners with serious mental illnesses and those found mentally impaired by the courts, and to contribute to community safety.'

'Forensic mental health services, like all modern mental health services should be firmly community based, emphasising long term treatment and support. This is particularly important with those in whom a recurrence of illness may spell a resurgence of offending.'

'The hospital is dedicated to providing quality care to some of the most disadvantaged in our community and in the process to make a very real contribution to crime prevention,' Professor Mullen said.

The new facility-which has already met with international acclaim-was planned and constructed over a six year period. It is the product of close collaboration between experts in the fields of forensic mental health, architecture and criminal justice.

Named after Dr Thomas Embling, the first resident medical officer appointed at the first psychiatric hospital built in Victoria, the hospital will set new standards in the delivery of forensic mental health care and treatment.

Photo of the Opening of the Thomas Embling HospitalMichael Burt, CEO, Forensicare, Professor Paul Mullen, Clinical Director, Forensicare, and John Thwaites, MP, Minister for Health at the opening of the Thomas Embling Hospital.

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Updated 7 December 2001

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