The Department of Health and Human Services annual report released today shows Victorians with severe mental health conditions are waiting a devastatingly long time for emergency treatment.
The report reveals a massive 45.6 per cent of emergency patients requiring mental health support don’t receive that support within the appropriate timeframes and are subsequently left waiting longer than 8 hours for an admission.
The Department report states that this has not been the case for rural hospitals, whose communities were not subject to tougher COVID restrictions, although these devastating mental health figures for Melbourne were prior to the Stage 4 lockdown.
In addition, there has also been a large increase in the seclusions rate, which is locking a psychiatric patient in a secure room from which they are unable to leave.
Over the past year in Victoria, there has been a 12 per cent reduction in the availability of beds in Community Support Services. These mental health services play a vital role in supporting people with a severe psychiatric disability, and the reduction in available beds means less access for those who need additional support.
Comments from Acting Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Georgie Crozier:
“It is unacceptable that in metropolitan Melbourne, it is the equivalent of a coin toss that is the difference between someone receiving treatment within the appropriate timeframe or not.
“It is clear that Melbourne’s metropolitan hospitals are struggling with large increases in the number of people presenting to emergency departments.
“These numbers will only be made worse with the impact on Melbourne’s Stage 4 lockdowns yet to be reported.”