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Second Psychiatry Opinion Service

Victoria has an independent service for second opinions. It has been established to provide independent second psychiatric opinions to ‘entitled patients’ under the Mental Health Act 2014, in circumstances when a second opinion via other means is not available or feasible.

The Second Psychiatric Opinion Service can promote dialogue between the authorised psychiatrist, the treating team, the patient, carers and family about the patient’s treatment.

An entitled patient is a person who is subject to a Temporary Treatment Order or Treatment Order, a security patient or a forensic patient.

At the request of an entitled patient, any person may seek a second psychiatric opinion. Guardians, parents of entitled patients under 16 years of age and the Secretary to the Department of Health & Human Services, if the entitled patient is the subject of a family reunification order or a care by Secretary Order, may also seek a second psychiatric opinion.

Where a second psychiatric opinion is requested under the Mental Health Act 2014, the authorised psychiatrist must ensure that reasonable steps are taken to assist an entitled patient to obtain a second opinion.

The Second Psychiatric Opinion Service can provide a second opinion in relation to:

  • The treatment provided to you (including recommending any changes the psychiatrist considers appropriate); and/or
  • Whether the criteria for the relevant Treatment Order applies to you. Please note that this function does not apply in relation to forensic patients who are detained by an order of a court.

Importantly, the service:

  • Does not replace the person’s treating team. If a second opinion is given, the treating psychiatrist may change the person’s treatment, or will discuss why they feel treatment should not change.
  • Does not offer second opinions on diagnosis.

For second opinions on diagnosis, it is recommended that a person seek a second opinion from:

  • Another psychiatrist at their designated treating mental health service;
  • A psychiatrist from a different designated mental health service, or
  • A private psychiatrist.

Personal, social and environmental factors may alter an individual’s experience or perception of this information. A person’s culture, religion, spirituality or ancestral spirituality can influence how this information relates to your health & wellbeing, as well as your community.

Last Modified: Monday, 20 February 2023