Mental health bed waiting times continue to blow out

Thousands of Victorians presenting to emergency departments for mental health reasons are waiting longer than eight hours to be admitted to a mental health bed.

Data revealed to the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) shows the government fell staggeringly short of its own targets in 2019-20, with 46 per cent of people only departing to a mental health bed after they had been waiting in the emergency department for eight hours or more.

This represents 6059 Victorians being forced to wait for support when they are at their most vulnerable.

The government’s target is 80 per cent of people being admitted to a bed within eight hours, but Labor has not gone close to meeting this mark once in the past six years.

Alarmingly, some metropolitan hospitals admitted less than one fifth of patients within the eight-hour timeframe.

The statistics come after Labor delayed the release of the final report from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, which was due to be handed down on February 4.

Comment attributable to Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Emma Kealy:

“We have known for years that people are waiting longer under Daniel Andrews to get the mental health support they need.

“Ballooning waitlists and long wait times show how Victoria’s system is failing people at a time when they need help the most.

“These figures only further illustrate just how far behind this government is in meeting its targets and delivering the level of care Victorians need and expect.

“The Andrews Labor Government is kicking the can down the road, instead of getting on with the job of fixing Victoria’s broken mental health system.”

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