About Us

Our role

The Principal Official Visitor is appointed by the Governor under the Mental Health Act 2013.

Mental Health Official Visitors are appointed by the Principal Official Visitor under the Mental Health Act 2013.

We visit approved facilities and the secure mental health unit at the Wilfred Lopes Centre in Risdon at least once a month to:

  • receive complaints from (or concerning) patients;
  • check that patients are being informed of and accorded their rights;
  • monitor the adequacy and quality of approved facilities, with particular regard to the recreational, occupational, training and rehabilitation facilities available to patients.

We also:

  • refer complaints received from (or concerning) patients to the Principal Official Visitor;
  • report suspected contrventions of this Act, or other matters that may require investigation, to the Principal Official Visitor;
  • raise with the Principal Official Visitor any matters of particular concern that come to the Official Visitor's attention.

Complaints can be made at any time by:

  • the patient;
  • a representative or support person of the patient;
  • a person who, in the opinion of the Principal Official Visitor, has a genuine interest in the patient's welfare.

The Principal Official Visitor can assess and conduct preliminary enquiries into complaints and refer suspected contraventions of this Act, or any other matters that require investigation to the Health Complaints Commissioner or Ombudsman.

 Complaints may be submitted using our online complaint form.

We can also visit premises in or from which a patient is being provided services under this Act if requested to do so.

Click here for a list of the facilities we visit.

Patients can contact us at any time and ask to speak to a Mental Health Official Visitor.

Our History

The first Mental Health Official Visitor Scheme was established in Tasmania in 1885, when Official Visitors were appointed to review the facilities at New Norfolk and the Cascades. They made recommendations to the Governor and promoted positive changes to mental health practice.

In 1993 the national inquiry into the human rights of people with mental illness, commissioned by the Human Rights Commission, recommended that independent hospital visitors should be appointed to oversee patient rights and welfare.

The Model Mental Health Legislation Report to the Australian Ministers Advisory Council National Working Group on Mental Health Policy 1995 recommended the adoption of legislation that provided for the appointment of independent community visitors to mental health care agencies.

The Tasmanian Mental Health Act 1996 established a Mental Health Official Visitors Scheme.

The first Mental Health Official Visitors were appointed in 2000, to coincide with the commencement of the Act in that year.

The Mental Health Official Visitors Scheme was hosted by the Tasmanian Association for Mental Health until 2005 and by the Mental Health Council of Tasmania from 2005 to 30 June 2009.

On 1 July 2009 the administration of the Scheme was transferred to the Office of the Ombudsman and Health Complaints Commissioner.

The Mental Health Act 2013 continues the role of Official Visitors.