19 Dec 2019

Commissioner issues interim prohibition orders against drug & alcohol counselling and rehabilitation service

The Health Complaints Commissioner Karen Cusack has issued Interim Prohibition Orders against Denise Abadee and Craig McDonald of Elsternwick and ‘The Wellbeing Planet’, 7-12 Horne Street Elsternwick while the Commissioner investigates the provision of alcohol and other drug rehabilitation and counselling services at ‘The Wellbeing Planet’.

Denise Abadee, Craig McDonald and ‘The Wellbeing Planet’ have been temporarily banned from advertising, offering or providing any general health services, including, but not limited to, the treatment of addiction to alcohol and other drugs, while the Commissioner conducts an investigation into their services. In addition, the Interim Orders prohibit the above parties from establishing, directing or otherwise operating any business that provides any general health services including, but not limited to, the treatment of addiction to alcohol and other drugs.

“The safety of Victorians is my number one priority and we will continue to investigate, and where appropriate, impose prohibition orders on those general health service providers who do the wrong thing and put the Victorian public at risk”, Ms Cusack said.

“Any counsellor or other general health service provider practising in Victoria must adhere to the code of conduct set out in the Health Complaints Act 2016 and provide services in a safe and ethical manner” she said.

“Drug and alcohol counselling and rehabilitation services are provided at a time in an individual’s life when the person is dealing with addiction and they are very vulnerable. Clients and their families place a significant amount of trust in drug and alcohol counselling and rehabilitation services.

This investigation is part of a wider investigation into the private alcohol and other drug rehabilitation and counselling sector in Victoria. The State Government provided additional funding for the Commissioner to undertake a detailed investigation into the sector and the Commissioner is due to report back to Government on the key findings and recommendations in the coming months.

“If anyone has a complaint about private alcohol and other drug rehabilitation and counselling services or other healthcare received in Victoria, please contact my office” Ms Cusack said.

If the public has any concerns about this or other health services, they are urged to contact the Health Complaints Commissioner on 1300 582 113 or [email protected]