Saturday, June 18, 2005

Psychiatrists dismiss Vanstone's call to limit role

Long-term detainee Peter Qasim is being treated in a psychiatric hospital

Psychiatrists treating mentally-ill Baxter detainees have rejected the Immigration Minister Senator Amanda Vanstone's call for them to restrict their role to the immediate care of patients.

Adelaide's Glenside Psychiatric Hospital is treating nine patients from the Baxter immigration detention centre, including Australia's longest serving detainee, Peter Qasim.

Some psychiatrists are worried the men may be sent back to the detention centre, but Senator Vanstone says that is not their concern.

"I would personally have some concern if I thought psychiatrists were doing anything other than treating their patients for the mental health condition they have," she said.

"Of course you'd take into account the advice of a psychiatrists in relation to someone's mental health.

"But once they're well, then the psychiatrist's role finishes."Jon Jureidini, the psychiatrist who admitted Peter Qasim to Glenside Hospital a week ago, rejects Senator Vanstone's comments.

"I think it's very much in a psychiatrist's role to express concerns about things that they think are damaging to their patient's health," he said. "It would be negligent of a psychiatrist not to speak out against things that drive people crazy. "I know that the patients I've seen were driven crazy by being in Baxter. "To send them back there, once they'd recovered, would be to expose them to the same kinds of risks that caused the problem in the first place."

By I Won't Be Nuts For You 18 June 05


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