I want to change my treating team

I want to change my treating team

Some of your concerns about mental health treatment can relate to your treating team. It is important to know that you have rights about how you want to be treated and to request a change to treating team.

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Who is my treating team?

Many people call the following mental health staff the “treating team”:

  • psychiatrists
  • nurses
  • social workers
  • occupational therapists
  • psychologists
  • peer workers.

Why would I want to change my treating team?

Many people have supportive relationships with their treating team. However, some people consider making changes because of:

  • gender – you may prefer or feel more comfortable with someone from a specific gender
  • communication and personality – you may have communication or personality issues with a staff member that you have not been able to resolve
  • therapeutic relationship – you may have had negative experiences with a staff member, and may have a better therapeutic relationship with another staff member
  • clinical opinion – you may disagree with a staff member’s “clinical opinion”, or decisions they have made about your treatment
  • your rights – you may decide that a staff member is not respecting your rights and that this will not change.

Do I have the right to change my treating team?

The law states that you have the right to make or participate in decisions about your treatment, as well as have your views and preferences considered. Your individual needs, such as your culture, language, communication, age, disability, religion as well as sexuality, should be respected and responded to.

The law makes specific mention that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should have their distinct identity and culture respected and responded to.

Therefore, you may request a change of staff for these reasons.

However, you should be aware that the service’s response may be influenced by the staff and resources available.

How do I change my treating team?

You can ask any staff member, or ask to speak to the manager of the service. Some tips for that conversation are:

  • make a plan – make sure you plan what you want to say, and what you want to ask. Write them down if that helps
  • know your rights – you may want to read more about your rights under the law. You can also ask a staff member for the service’s policy on changing your treating team.

What if they don’t change my treating team?

Sometimes your first try is not successful. If that happens, you can:

  • ask for a review – ask for a review of the decision about changing the staff member
  • talk to the staff member – if you do not have the choice to change the staff member, you may want to meet with them to discuss your concerns and expectations again. You may bring a support person to help you with this meeting
  • get a second opinion – the Second Psychiatric Opinion Service (phone 1300 503 426) offers a free independent review of whether you should be under the law or whether your treatment needs to change. You may find a private psychiatrist to assist by contacting the Your Health in Mind website (phone 9640 0646)
  • make a complaint – you can make a written or oral complaint to the mental health service or to the Mental Health Complaints Commissioner (phone 1800 246 054). See I want to make a complaint about my mental health service for more information.

Download this fact sheet

Download our I want to change my treating team (pdf, 142.97 KB) fact sheet.

Get help from IMHA

If you are on a compulsory treatment order, our advocates can support you to have your say about your assessment, treatment and recovery. Learn how to get help from IMHA.