Battle to free man with brain injury from mental health ward

HOPING FOR A RESULT: Solicitor Peter Boyce, of law firm Butler McDermott Lawyers in Nambour, is striving to help free a man from a mental health ward.
HOPING FOR A RESULT: Solicitor Peter Boyce, of law firm Butler McDermott Lawyers in Nambour, is striving to help free a man from a mental health ward. Iain Curry

THE push is on to help get a 22-year-old man out of a mental health ward and into proper, full-time care.

Butler McDermott Lawyers principal and Nambour-based solicitor Peter Boyce is leading the charge to help the man, who has been in the Nambour General Hospital's mental health ward since April.

He was placed there as an interim measure while awaiting funding.

He has an acquired brain injury from a single-vehicle car accident in 2011 and Mr Boyce said he had no mental illness, hence the need to have him removed from the ward and returned to appropriate care.

The issue lies with funding from Disability Services Queensland, with the man requiring around-the-clock supervision.

Mr Boyce has made submissions to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk as well as seeking support of other solicitors, and a petition has been started on to try to push for funding.

"He doesn't have a mental illness, he has an acquired brain injury," Mr Boyce said.

"All parties agree that he doesn't have a mental illness."

Mr Boyce said the man was there simply because there was not enough funding to provide external care.

"He could probably go and do some jobs, he could be a trolley boy, under supervision, and then go back home to supervision," Mr Boyce said. "The longer you leave him (in hospital) you're likely to do him further damage.

"Why are we locking people up that we don't have to?"

Mr Boyce called on the State Government to make the necessary provisions to allow the man to enter full-time home care and help ease the burden on the ward.

The petition on is an emotional read, stating: "As parents, it breaks our hearts that our son has been left in the mental health system simply because no one knows where else to put him.

"Our family wish this Christmas is that the State Government provide the funding for services that will allow our son to return to the community in the supervised care that was originally planned."

Queensland Disability Services Minister Coralee O'Rourke said yesterday her department was looking at options that may assist.

To sign the petition, head to

Topics:  brain injury nambour general hospital peter boyce sunshine coast

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