Staff to be disciplined over Barrett Centre closure

TWO Queensland Health employees named in a report into the closure of the Barrett Adolescent Centre are now facing disciplinary action.

In a mass email sent to thousands of employees this week Queensland Health Director General Michael Walsh said the department had already started "disciplinary proceedings".

The process is confidential and neither the email from Mr Walsh, or the statement released by the Public Service Commission on the matter, detail how the employees will be disciplined. 

In the email Mr Walsh says the affected employees have been notified.

While the State Government isn't releasing any names, the two staff members are reportedly the department's mental health executive director Bill Kingswell and former West Moreton Hospital Health Service's mental health and specialised services executive director Sharon Kelly.

The centre at Wacol, managed by West Moreton Hospital Health Service, was closed in 2014 amid controversy and protest.

It was the only long-term facility catering to adolescents suffering serious mental health issues and within a year of the centre's closure, three former patients had died. 

Barrett Adolescent Centre at Wacol was managed by West Moreton Hospital Health Service before it was closed in 2014.
Barrett Adolescent Centre at Wacol was managed by West Moreton Hospital Health Service before it was closed in 2014. Inga Williams

An official inquiry which found the then health minister Lawrence Springborg's decision was based on poor advice and the report included criticisms on record-keeping, communication with patients and families.

An independent review of that inquiry's report, handed down in June, by the Public Service Commission recommended disciplinary action be taken.

Email sent to Queensland Health staff from Director General Michael Walsh.
Email sent to Queensland Health staff from Director General Michael Walsh.

In a statement the Public Service Commission's Acting Commission Chief Peter McKay said the state government couldn't provide any details on the disciplinary process.

"The Public Service Commission's Guideline on Discipline highlights that confidentiality is an important consideration in a discipline process and should be respected at all times," Mr McKay said.  

"These guidelines stress that all participants in a disciplinary process must remain mindful of their ethical responsibilities, including any obligations of confidence that arise."

Phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 for crisis support. 


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