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Probe into mental care of bus accused

AAP logoAAP 30/10/2016 Tracey Ferrier

A review will determine if proper mental health care was given to the man accused of boarding a Brisbane bus and setting the driver on fire.

Health Minister Cameron Dick has revealed Anthony O'Donohue, 48, who has been charged with murder over Friday's attack that killed Brisbane City Council driver Manmeet Alisher, had received public mental health services.

Mr Dick has ordered an independent review, led by forensic psychiatrist Professor Paul Mullen, to thoroughly assess the adequacy of that care.

The minister said he was unable to say when O'Donohue was last treated, or reveal anything else about the nature of the treatment he received, because of privacy laws.

But he's promised to reveal findings and recommendations from Prof Mullen's review, as far as those laws allow, after he reports back to the government in about eight weeks.

The external probe will run in parallel with an internal review by the Metro South Hospital and Health Service, which treated O'Donohue.

"It's important that there be an independent review of the delivery of services," Mr Dick told reporters on Monday.

He said there was "a very robust clinical and legal framework" for the treatment of mental health patients in Queensland, but the review would identify any deficiencies.

Mr Alisher, 29, was burnt to death behind the wheel when he stopped to pick up passengers at a Moorooka bus stop.

Police have said there's no obvious motive for the attack and have ruled out terrorism or racial factors.

Mr Alisher's brother Amit Alisher has arrived in Brisbane from India and hopes to fly home with his brother's body later this week before telling his frail parents the heart-breaking news. At this stage they believe their son has been in an accident and is in a coma.

Indian leader Narendra Modi has phoned Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to express his shock and concern about Mr Alisher's death.

O'Donohue has been charged with murder and arson, and also 11 counts of attempted murder relating to other people who were on the council bus.

Passengers who witnessed the attack and were trapped on the burning bus before taxi driver Aguek Nyok kicked out a back door remain deeply traumatised.

Rail Tram and Bus Union president Owen Doogan said he'd met with Transport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe since the tragedy, and the minister said he'd see what could be done to fast-track a pre-existing review on bus driver safety.

Mr Doogan will meet with Amit Alisher on Tuesday ahead of a private memorial service at Mr Alisher's bus depot on Friday.

He said it was difficult to say if an attack like the one on Friday was preventable, but public transport workers were assaulted on the job practically every week.

"It's not good enough," Mr Doogan told AAP.

"The review is good and we're pleased it's happening, particularly that it's coming from the highest level. We'd hope to see some positive steps come from this."

He said some drivers would be struggling with anxiety.

"They've been real troopers and they are getting on with life, but it's only natural that some of them will be feeling more uncomfortable about safety this week than they felt last week."

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