A “lack of psychiatrists” in the North has been highlighted as part of a coroner’s report into a murder-suicide at Riverside.
John Evans killed himself after bashing his wife Jill Evans to death in their Riverside home in 2013.
Leading up to the tragedy, Mr Evans became paranoid about smoke from a neighbour’s woodheater spreading to their property and believed someone was spraying their dogs with poison.
Three days before on Friday, August 30, Mr Evans failed to attend an appointment with a psychiatrist.
The following Monday, he called triple-zero and told police he had murdered his wife and he “was sorry”.
Mrs Evans was found dead in the couple’s bedroom, with a quilt pulled over part of her body.
A photo of their daughter Tina, who died in a car crash in 1989, had been placed on her stomach.
A timber stick with cloth taped around one end was found nearby.
Doctors who treated Mr Evans gave evidence during an inquest into the murder-suicide last year.
Coroner Olivia McTaggart released her report on Wednesday and found there was “no evidence that the particular tragedy could have been reasonably foreseen by any of Mr Evans’ medical practitioners”.
“During the whole period of Mr Evans’ treatment by his general practitioners and during hospitalisation at the Launceston General Hospital and St Luke’s, Mr Evans expressed no homicidal ideation nor any ideas that could reasonably be interpreted as manifesting an intent to harm any other person,” she said.
During the inquest, psychiatrists Dr Ian Sale and Dr John Kasinathan said Mr Evans was psychotic when he killed his wife and himself, which Ms McTaggart found to be true.
In sharing her findings, Ms McTaggart also noted the evidence of Dr Sale, who commented on the “lack of psychiatrists in the public system in Northern Tasmania compared to the south of the state”.
“Dr Sale indicated that the North of the state was approaching a situation ‘akin to a rural environment’ in respect of the mental health sphere … I accept Dr Sale’s evidence.”
Ms McTaggart recommended that the Launceston General Hospital review its procedures relating to ensuring satisfactory completion of all documentation relating to the reasons for decision-making under the Mental Health Act 2013.
She also recommended a review of its procedures for providing critical clinical information when transferring mental health patients from the LGH to another hospital as well as its procedures for providing discharge summaries to the mental health patient’s treating practitioners.
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