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Head of troubled mental health service to step down

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The clinical head of public mental health services in Adelaide’s south will step down in September, SA Health has announced.

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In an emailed notice to staff today, the CEO of the Southern Adelaide Local Health Network, Adjunct Professor Susan O’Neill, said that the clinical director of the network’s mental health service, Professor Malcolm Battersby, would step down at the end of his contract on September 18.

SALHN’s mental health services are under review by Chief Psychiatrist John Brayley following a series of concerns raised by clinical staff and unions.

While the review is expected to report shortly, SA Health has also announced reforms to SALHN’s Community Mental Health Services.

InDaily revealed last year that SALHN’s mental health services were under intense scrutiny, with psychiatrists based at Noarlunga declaring no confidence in the service’s clinical leadership.

The group said they did not believe they could continue to work with Battersby to resolve a series of problems they believed were besetting the service.

In a note to staff today, O’Neill didn’t give a reason for Battersby’s decision to walk away from the position but she said he would continue to work in SALHN as a psychiatrist.

“Malcolm has been in the role of Clinical Director since early 2014 and over that time led the relocation of Ward 17 to Jamie Larcombe Centre, including leading the Veterans Model of Care and the relocation of Ward 18 to Flinders Medical Centre,” O’Neill said in her email.

“He recently managed the plan to implement SA Health recommendations for major reform of SALHN’s Community Mental Health Services.”

She said Battersby would “continue to work at SALHN in his psychiatry role and will work to further integrate mental health services with teaching and research, including working with Flinders University on the mental health component of the new Flinders Health and Medical Research Institute”.

Recruitment for his replacement would begin shortly.

InDaily has asked SA Health why Battersby decided to step down.

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