Confidential Information Released

This article is based on a fictional scenario.

The Community Welfare department released Debbie Smith’s private medical information to the Wangaratta community last week.

Officials told parents with children at Smith Day Care Service assistant Debbie Smith was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

“They went all around the neighbourhood telling everyone about Debbie’s schizophrenia,” Smith Day Care Service operator and mother Joan Smith said.

Ms Smith had applied to Community Welfare for her daughter to become operator of the day care.

Community Welfare Director Spokesperson Alice Anderson said the priority of the organisation was to ensure children in approved services were safe.

“It’s our policy to talk to the people whenever there is a proposed change that might affect them,” Ms Anderson said.

According to parents, Debbie Smith had worked at the day care centre for “years”.

“We don’t screen those who assist in family day care services, only those who actually apply to run them,” Ms Anderson said.

A mother said Debbie Smith was “great” with the kids at the centre.

“She’s always polite and the kids really love her,” she said.

But another mother said she had concerns for the children’s safety after being notified Debbie Smith had schizophrenia.

“We have to put our kids first,” she said.

Ms Smith said her daughter received treatment and hadn’t had any “problems” for “years”.

“Those do-gooders from Community Welfare don’t know the harm they’re doing,” Ms Smith said.

Psychiatrist Colin Phillips said people with schizophrenia could “recover” and lead “reasonably normal lives”.

According to Dr Phillips, between 25 and 40 percent of people who have a psychotic episode never have another.

Hallucinations, hearing things and confusing thoughts are symptoms of schizophrenia.

Contact Lifeline 131114 or Beyond Blue 9810 6100 if in need of assistance.


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