Be Kind not Cruel - Stop the Victoria Clinic Late Fee

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Be Kind, Not Cruel

Recently The Victoria Clinic (part of Healthscope) has introduced a 'late fee' to the day program patients. This can mean a $50 fee is charged to patients that show up as little as 1 minute late to group and individual therapy sessions. This draconian measure is meant to scare people into arriving on time.

Reported as a measure to reduce disruption within groups and 'provide the best service' they can to patients, the main effect is the cultivation fear in very vulnerable people who often are not in a position to speak up. Allison Carr (general manager of The Victoria Clinic) claims that this late fee 'gets results' where no other past measure has. 'Results' being people showing up on time and supposedly making the therapy sessions better for everyone.

I believe that showing on time for therapy is important - but not at the cost of the emotional, mental, and financial well-being of the patients receiving the therapy. Does it really matter if a different form of encouragement to attend on time (rather than a punitive fear tactic and punishment) is slightly less 'effective', if it means patients don't suffer the unnecessary fear and pressure of this strict late fee?

I am a patient of of the Victoria Clinic Day programs. This directly effects me. But more concerningly, I have seen it negatively impact every single patient I have met within the clinic - often due to the financial stress they may be under due to the already astronomical costs of private health care for mental illness. We are all trying our best - but we are being punished when we don't get the results that the Victoria Clinic (and Allison Carr) wants.

My suggested solution is to remove the cruel late fee, and instead continue to implement the same methods used previously to encourage people to attend on time. Maybe it's not as 'effective' as scaring people into showing up early. But I would sure prefer a slightly 'disrupted' group therapy session, than one where people arrive breathless from fear and anxiety caused by the pressure to be on time.

If you agree, please sign and share if you are able. It can be extremely hard for people suffering from mental health issues to speak up and take a stand, as often we can feel like we don't matter and that we don't have a voice. Stand with us and support us so we don't have to feel alone.