Vic health service fined $100k after death

·1-min read

A regional Victorian health service has been convicted and fined $100,000 after a mental health patient took their own life at a psychiatric unit in 2016.

Bendigo Health on Tuesday pleaded guilty in Bendigo Magistrates' Court to failing to ensure people other than workers weren't exposed to health and safety risks.

The charge arose after a patient showed up at Bendigo Health's emergency department asking for help and reporting suicidal thoughts, and was involuntarily admitted to the Alexander Bayne Centre in August 2016.

Later that month, they took their own life at the psychiatric unit. It was reasonably practicable for Bendigo Health to reduce the patient's risk of injury or death, the court was told.

The patient's death was a tragic incident that could have been prevented, WorkSafe health and safety director Narelle Beer said.

"This is an extremely sad incident that should never have happened," Dr Beer said.

"Every employer has a duty to do everything they can to reduce risks to the health and safety of everyone within a workplace, including those associated with intentional self-harm."

Bendigo Health pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and accepted the court's decision, a spokeswoman for the health service said.

The service offered its deepest sympathies to the patient's family.

"Following the coroner's report we have made a number of changes to our protocols and practices. Our entire service strives for continuous improvement," the spokeswoman said.

The court also ordered Bendigo Health to pay about $5000 in costs.

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