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The Public Guardian has awarded Brisbane solicitor, Jo Sampford, for her excellence in advocating for clients with disability before the Mental Health Review Tribunal.

Jo is a solicitor at Queensland Advocacy Incorporated (QAI) and works with clients across Queensland. She won an award for ‘excellence in elevating the rights and/or aspirations of clients in disability funded services’ category in the inaugural Public Guardian Excellence Awards.

Public Guardian, Ms Natalie Siegel-Brown, said that Jo is a very worthy winner of the award as she always ensures the human rights of her clients is the number one priority when advocating for them in the Mental Health Review Tribunal.

“Jo is such a passionate and courageous advocate and is extremely concerned for her clients and the impact that clinical decision making and legal processes have on them.” Ms Siegel-Brown said.

One particular case highlights Jo’s dedication and commitment, and that involves a client who had been receiving a type of mental health treatment for a prolonged period of time that didn’t seem to assist their condition. They desperately wanted it to stop.

Jo was persistent in exploring the issues, and never gave up even in the face of opposition from stakeholders who asserted that this treatment was the only option. As a result of her efforts, the Mental Health Review Tribunal ruled that the treatment was to stop. While the client still has a long journey ahead of them, our client’s health is recovering more quickly than we could have imagined.

The Public Guardian recognised that this is only one of many examples of Jo’s brilliant advocacy for Queenslanders with a disability.

“Jo goes above and beyond on a daily basis, so I am so pleased to be able to reward such excellence in practice within the community services sector” Ms Siegel-Brown said.

The Office of the Public Guardian is committed to advocating for the human rights of some of Queensland’s most vulnerable members of the community, including those living with impaired decision making capacity.

However the Office of the Public Guardian cannot do that work alone, and the purpose of Public Guardian Excellence Awards is to recognise and reward those individuals and teams in the community services, health and mental health sectors who work tirelessly to promote the rights and interests of our joint clients.

Other award categories in the Public Guardian Excellence Awards recognise work across Queensland to promote the rights and aspirations of people living in Authorised Mental Health Services, and to reduce or eliminate the use of restrictive practices for people with a disability.

The Office of the Public Guardian protects the rights, interests and wellbeing of adults with impaired decision-making capacity, and children and young people in the child protection system.

QAI is an independent, community-based systems and legal advocacy organisation whose mission is to promote, protect and defend, through advocacy, the fundamental needs and rights and lives of the most vulnerable people with disability in Queensland.

(Picture shows left ro right - Michelle O'Flynn, Director QAI, Jo Sampford, Nataie Siegel-Brown, Public Guardian)

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