Mental health patients left in limbo

The State Liberals have labelled State Labor’s mental health policies an abject failure with mental health patients waiting days in Emergency Departments for admission to a mental health bed.

At 3pm yesterday there were at least 8 people who had been waiting more than 24 hours for a mental health bed in the QEH and RAH Emergency Departments (see ED Dashboard images below).

This is despite Health Minister Jack Snelling promising in December 2014 that no one needing mental health care would have to wait in a hospital Emergency Department for more than 24 hours by 1 January 2016.

“They didn’t meet that target in January and two months later they still haven’t met it,” said Shadow Minister for Mental Health Stephen Wade.

“Once again the Weatherill Labor Government has failed to deliver on a key commitment to patients and staff of our public health system.

“The new Minister for Mental Health Leesa Vlahos must explain what the new timeframe is to achieve this goal, particularly as winter is only a season away.

“Leaving people with mental health problems languishing in ED’s for days at a time also places hospital staff under greater pressure and at increased risk of assault.

“An Emergency Department is not an appropriate environment to support the recovery of a person with mental health issues.

“These patients are waiting for a bed because our inpatient mental health wards are full to the brim.”