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‘Eyes forward, keep walking’: SA Health's tips for avoiding the media

Notes on Adelaide

An SA Health directive on how staff should avoid the media during a Coroner’s inquest this week has been leaked to InDaily.

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Deputy State Coroner Anthony Schapel yesterday launched his inquest into the death of Ricky Dale Noonan.

The 54-year-old died in September 2015 after choking on food and suffering a heart attack while being held in a seclusion room at the Margaret Tobin Centre – a psychiatric ward at Flinders Medical Centre.

The head of mental health services in southern Adelaide, Professor Malcolm Battersby, last week group-emailed 14 mental health teams and 24 individual staff members, reminding them of their obligations during the inquest.

The email, obtained by InDaily, also contains a series of instructions from SA Health’s communications team on how staff should interact with the media this week, including that they should “remain professional by looking straight ahead and keep walking”.

It reads:

A spokesperson for SA Health told InDaily this morning that “this is standard SA Health media policy reinforced to all staff ahead of any formal investigation to avoid potential interference with the investigation’s proceedings or outcomes”.

You can read the full letter below.

The email, sent to mental health staff last week.

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