People in Geelong needing urgent mental health treatment will now get the immediate, specialist care they need, thanks to a major investment by the Andrews Labor Government.
Premier Daniel Andrews today joined Member for Geelong Christine Couzens and specialist staff at University Hospital Geelong - one of six sites across the state set to be part of a rollout of new emergency department crisis hubs made possible by a $100.5 million investment in the Victorian Budget 2018/19.
The new hub at Geelong Hospital will include separate 24-hour, short-stay units in its emergency department to treat people during times of crisis.
The investment directly responds to an increasing number of people with mental health, drug and alcohol problems who seek help in emergency departments when their condition has reached crisis point.
New data shows that across the state, emergency departments experienced a 19 per cent increase in mental health patients over the past 4 years. At Barwon Health, the number of people presenting to the emergency department with a mental health condition has risen 47 per cent in the past three years.
People presenting with urgent mental health, alcohol and drug issues will be fast-tracked to these hubs for specialist, dedicated care – relieving pressure on our emergency departments and our doctors and nurses.
Patients will be assessed and treated by an ED and mental health team – made up of psychiatrists, mental health nurses and social workers – and referred to other services as required.
Barwon Health has also participated in the first stage of the Labor Government’s Suicide Prevention Framework, the Hospital Outreach Post-Suicidal Engagement (HOPE) program. Since it started in April, Barwon has supported 30 people to ensure they get the support they need following presentation at the emergency department.
This initiative, along with the new hubs, will ensure people presenting with mental health issues get the right support, sooner, and that our general emergency departments are able to focus on caring for other patients.
The hubs are part of a record $705 million investment in this year’s Budget to give Victorians with mental illness and addiction and their families the treatment and the support they need.
Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews
“Our hard-working ED nurses and doctors at Barwon Health are dealing with more mental health patients than ever before. This will take the pressure off them, so more Geelong families get the emergency care they need.”
“We’re making the biggest ever investment in mental health to help thousands of Victorians get the treatment they need – here in Geelong and right across the state.”
Quote attributable to Member for Geelong Christine Couzens
“This will fundamentally change the way we deal with mental health presentations in EDs here at Barwon Health – freeing up important frontline resources in our hospitals.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020