The Safety and Quality Partnership Subcommittee (SQPS) of the Mental Health Standing Committee is responsible for providing advice on the implementation of the national safety priorities identified in the National safety priorities in mental health: a National Plan for Reducing Harm.

A priority focus of the National Plan for Reducing Harm includes reduction of adverse medication events in mental health services. The key objectives relating to this priority area are to:

  • reduce adverse drug events (ADEs) in mental health services
  • reduce medication errors involving psychotropic medicines within mental health services and other health services
  • increase safe and quality use of psychotropic medicines in mental health services and
  • reduce ADEs relating to mental health clients in other health services.
The Framework for reducing adverse medication events in mental health seeks to guide service development and quality improvement activities in relation to medication events and provide a nationally consistent approach where appropriate. The proposed approach recognises both the sovereignty of each State and Territory to develop its own policies in this field, and the desirability of flexibility for individual jurisdictions to adapt the framework to local circumstances and systems as they see fit. It is not intended to prescribe individual State or Territory policy or legislation. However, in implementing or reviewing policy in the area of adverse medication events in mental health services, States and Territories are urged to utlise the information for best practice proposed in this Framework.

It is an established principle that in all aspects of mental health service provision consumers and carers must be involved to the fullest extent possible and this is reflected in this report. In this framework the term carer or carers means the person or persons identified as such by the consumer or in the absence of such identification can include parents, partners, brothers, sisters, friends or children of any age. A carer can also be a State and Territory Guardianship Board or Tribunal appointed guardian or administrator.

Release of information to an identified carer or carers will be subject to the relevant jurisdictional legislation, which may include legislation that supports the involvement of carer(s) including release of information to a carer and/or limiting legislation that restricts the release of personal information to support the consumer's right to privacy and confidentiality. The principle that carers must be involved to the maximum extent possible is to be implemented in practice but this must occur within the respect for privacy and confidentiality and associated legislative requirements.

Wherever in this report "where appropriate" appears it is to be interpreted on the basis of identification of the carer(s), compliance with any jurisdictional legislative requirements such as obligatory consent for release of personal information, but at all times maximizing the opportunities for involvement of the carer(s) in all aspects of the consumer's care including general discussion and relevant information to enable the carer's understanding and involvement.