Compensation for 10B victims?

Issue 

Compensation for 10B victims?

By Bill Mason

BRISBANE — The Queensland government has announced plans to compensate former patients of Townsville Hospital's notorious Ward 10 psychiatric unit.

Solicitors acting for 18 victims of the brutal regime, exposed in a recent commission of inquiry, have asked the government for an out-of-court settlement of claims.

Commissioner Bill Carter found that the care and treatment of patients at Townsville were in many respects negligent, unsafe, unethical and unlawful.

The Goss cabinet on September 9 announced negotiations would begin shortly, "without prejudice". The health minister said the inquiry showed "there is a claim for compensation".

The question remains whether the compensation can possibly rectify the violence and distress suffered by Ward 10B patients — and whether the mess in Queensland's psychiatric care system has been adequately dealt with in the wake of the scandal. n

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