Further Industrial Relations Commission Hearing - Enfield CAMHS

11 April 2017

At a well attended members' meeting held on 3 April, members sought that the PSA return to the IRCSA for the next voluntary conference scheduled for 5 April 2017 and indicated that they did not agree with CAMHS' offer. This offer, which was the same as that put to the PSA in the IRCSA on 22 March, was that contracts will only be offered be extended by a further 2 weeks to mid-July. Further aspects of the offer, regarding review of clients, were accepted by the PSA with amendments, such as involving the multi-disciplinary team and leadership teams in client reviews.

The PSA asserts that this is still an indication of CAMHS having made a decision to close, given that many other areas are having contracts extended to, or advertised with, an end date of 29 September 2017. The PSA is also concerned that even if it is decided that the service will close, it leaves very little time for all the processes and procedures to be put in place for transition. This includes the work still to occur with the Department for Education and Child Development (DECD) as outlined in CAMHS’ own proposed “CAMHS and Education Practice Description” document. This is a major concern given that CAMHS have themselves advised that they are unsure of how this will all work given they are still to consider the feedback from DECD and other stakeholders involved in their proposed "Practice Description".

In addition, the assessment of new sites for care of clients must be undertaken as well as the careful and safe handover of the clients. This cannot be undertaken at the same time as running the usual programs which staff, clients, carers and other stakeholders have been planning for. These plans had been advised to CAMHS Executive last year with no issues raised with those plans/timeframes until the meeting at CAMHS Enfield on 28 February 2017.

The PSA and members are extremely concerned with the workload ahead given all of the matters above that needs to occur and the current workloads. The other issue is that if contracts are not extended, these skilled staff who have therapeutic relationships with these clients and know their carers and other supporting services well will not be around to support them in this critical time.

All of this was discussed at length in the IRCSA and clearly articulated by CAMHS Enfield PSA Worksite Representative Shoona Howard. However, there was no improvement in CAMHS' position. In addition CAMHS sought that the PSA put any further action on hold for another three weeks when they say a decision will be known. The PSA rejected this given that staff are already resigning from CAMHS Enfield and it is critical that a resolution to ensure safe, stable and skilled staffing be gained as soon as possible to provide stability for clients, carers and staff. The Statement and Recommendations released by Commissioner McMahon can be seen here.

Although CAMHS has agreed to review current workloads, it is a serious concern that they do not want to be proactive and ensure that appropriate staffing is in place for the critical period ahead especially to assist in ensuring that their extensive and complex statewide reforms do not fail. The Enterprise Agreement sets out obligations of employers to ensure safe workplaces and safe workloads, and this is very much in question currently.

WHERE TO FROM HERE?

- The PSA will monitor to ensure that the multidisciplinary review of current workloads be arranged urgently. CAMHS had undertaken in the IRCSA to make contact with the Acting Manager of CAMHS Enfield on Thursday 6 April to arrange the date/time for this, but at the time of writing, this date had still not been arranged.

- In our submission to the IRCSA by this Wednesday 12 April 2017, the PSA will be seeking that the recommendations reflect that contracts need to be extended to 29 September 2017 to ensure safe workloads for staff and safe patient care for the clients while further consideration is occurring regarding the proposal to close Enfield; and until further work can occur to support whatever the future will be. The PSA will also seek that status quo remains and that no changes occur at CAMHS Enfield until this issue is resolved.

- The PSA will engage in a community awareness campaign and will ensure that the community and carers have details of who to contact regarding these concerns—such as the Ministers responsible for Health and Mental Health.

- And The PSA will commence discussions with members around what actions and strategies that they may need to put in place to ensure safe workloads for them and safe care for clients during this period of unknown times.

Thank you to all members who have raised these concerns and for standing together on this issue surrounding your rights under the Enterprise Agreement and the care of your clients.

The PSA will continue to keep members updated.