Mr John Feneley (Chair), Professor Alan Rosen, Prof Tim Lambert, A / Prof Tim Chen, Prof Andrew McLachlan, Ms Sam Stott, Ms Kerin O’Halloran, Dr Rod McKay, A / Prof Timothy Wand, Dr Michael Tam, Ms Judith Mackson, Dr Scott Clark

Dr Titia Sprague, Ms Aoife Davis

Ms Danielle Keogh 

Other attendees
Mr Carlton Quartly, Mr Scott Thompson 

1. Acknowledgements

Scott Thompson provided an Acknowledgement of Country and an Acknowledgement of People with a Lived Experience of Mental Illness.

2. Welcome and apologies 

The Commissioner welcomed members. The apologies of Dr Titia Sprague and Ms Aofie Davis were accepted.

3. Declaration of any conflict of interest

No declarations were made.

4. Minutes from previous meeting

The minutes of the meeting held 24 February 2014 were accepted.

5. Commissioner update

The Commissioner advised the Group that the Report prepared by the Commission, Living Well: Putting people at the centre of mental health reform in NSW: A Report, will be released 14 October 2014. The report will be available on the Commission website and hard copies will be posted to key stakeholders.

The Report was developed as a companion document to the Strategic Plan, Living Well: A Strategic Plan for Mental Health in NSW 2014 - 2024. At the time of the meeting Government had not yet set a date for the release of the Strategic Plan.

6. Issues paper

Danielle Keogh updated the group on the status of the Pharmacotherapy Issues Paper and the associated communications plan.

Members of the group provided comment on the draft. Key points that were agreed included:

  • The analysis of submissions and the possibility of providing prompts to guide responses. 
  • Including a list of medication names. 
  • The addition of help seeking information and emergency contact numbers.

7. Pharmacotherapy audit

The Commissioner introduced the idea of undertaking an audit of current prescribing in NSW psychiatric facilities.

Tim Lambert spoke to the proposal which has a particular focus on polypharmacy. The Commission has undertaken to further investigate audit options in this area.

8. National quality use of medication indicators

Rod McKay spoke to the National Quality Use of Medication Indicators (N-QUM) which are due to be released shortly, and will include an indicator on polypharmacy. As part of ongoing change in this area the Commissioner’s support with the implementation of these indicators was sought.

9. Current issues

Rod McKay informed the group that a workforce survey of Specialist Mental Health Services for Older People (SMHSOP) has been completed. One of the issues highlighted and being considered is polypharmacy.

Other issues raised included:

  • The need for electronic medical records
  • The need to better link physical health and mental health
  • Off label prescribing
  • Lack of training for health professionals on how to ‘un-prescribe’
  • The overuse of psychotropic medication in the older people age group.

The group informally agreed to attend to consumer friendly, respectful and non-pejorative language in all Mental Health Commission communications regarding medication issues. For example the use of ‘medications to treat psychosis’ rather than ‘anti-psychotics’ and ‘medications to treat depression’ rather than ‘anti-depressives’.

10. Other business

Professor Alan Rosen expressed appreciation of Professor Andrew McLachlan’s summary of Factors Affecting Tolerability & Effectiveness of Medications.

11. Next meeting

In accordance with the Terms of Reference the next meeting will take place in six months time. Out of session the group will continue to be consulted by the Commission on relevant matters.

The proposed dates for 2015 meetings of the Advisory Group are:

  • Monday, 23 March, 4pm – 6pm
  • Monday, 28 September, 4pm – 6pm

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Last updated: 3 June 2017