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Official visitors are appointed members of the community who check on the treatment of people with mental illnesses at approved hospitals and secure mental health units. Official Visitors have an ‘oversight’ role — that is, they visit mental health facilities to examine the physical environment and care of people with a mental illness. Official Visitors are also able to investigate suspected breaches of the Act and complaints by consumers, and may be able to assist people to apply for a review by the Tribunal.

A panel of Official Visitors must visit hospitals at least once a month, and can require the senior approved medical practitioner to produce records relating to the admission, care and treatment of patients; arrange interviews with patients; or answer questions about the care or treatment of patients. Hospitals are required to inform the Official Visitors of any requests by patients to see them, and they can investigate complaints made by persons receiving care of treatment (s160). Official Visitors must report any suspected contraventions of the Mental Health Act o the Mental Health Tribunal, and also provide an Annual Report to the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services. See their website for information on their important work.

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