MENTAL health experts from Western NSW Local Health have responded to Orange councillors request for a meeting over the clarification of day release patients from the forensic mental health unit at Bloomfield.
The briefing over patients undertaking training in the community is to be held next month.
Councillor Glenn Taylor called for the meeting over concerns expressed to him about patients with a violent history, who had been found not guilty of serious crimes on the grounds of mental illness, training in the Orange community.
“I think people in the community have a fair expectation to be told they are working alongside someone who has a previous violent history who is undergoing rehabilitation.
“People want a guarantee they will be safe,” he said.
The meeting between councillors and mental health professionals will be held on November 12.
Australian Education Union official Kathy Nicholson said she is encouraging teachers in the community who may find themselves in a frontline teaching or training role to demand to play an active role in risk assessments for patients preparing to enter training programs.
“The reality is risk assessments need to be done with all the appropriate consultation,” she said.
“Teachers need to be aware that under the work health and safety legislation they have a right to participate in the discussions around the carrying out of risk assessments,” Ms Nicholson said.
She said with the increasing number of casual teachers employed on campuses across the state by TAFE it is important teachers who are not full-time familiarise themselves with policies and procedures.
“The policies are quite clear about disclosures in relation to risk assessments,” Ms Nicholson said.
“But they are complex and I encourage teachers to seek out that information,” she said.
Ms Nicholson said no teachers from Orange so far have approached the union about concerns over teaching or training patients from the forensic mental health unit but she encourages them to express any concerns to the union.