Authors: Rozelle Hospital, Central Sydney Area Health Service
Event: 2002 TheMHS Awards
Type of resource: TheMHS Awards
Award state: NSW
Award level: Silver
Award category: Consumer/ Carer Program or service
Abstract: The Consumer Consultants or Advocates at Rozelle Hospital were the first group of mental health consumers to be employed by a mental health service in Australia to provide support and advocacy to clients in hospital. There are now quite a number of similar groups in NSW and interstate based on this model. Apart from the basic task and ensuring that consumers in hospital are aware of their rights, the group is involved in running gender, educational and leisure groups for patients, in providing advice on hospital policy and in staff education, particularly about what it is like to live with a mental illness. The project is an excellent example of collaboration between professionals and consumers. The Consumer advocates have always gauged their worth on acceptance by consumers in hospital. Description of Facility/Organisation: The Rozelle Hospital is a 220 bed mental health in-patient facility. It is accredited and part of the Central Sydney Area Health Service catering to people in the inner west of Sydney. The Consumer Consultants provide a service to three twenty-two bed acute wards, a twenty bed psychogeriatric acute ward, a ten and fifteen bed locked ward, a fifteen bed rehabilitation ward and fifteen beds in rehabilitation cottages. There is a large ethnic population in Central Sydney. We have had Italian and Greek speaking consultants. The team consists of a co-ordinator, working sixteen hours a week, one advocate working sixteen hours an week, and five other advocates working four hours a week each. One advocate who does not feel well enough for face-to-face work spends two hours a month organising the clothing store. The Consumer Consultant budget is approximately $60,000 per annum.