Health care under pump
Pilbara mental health and drug patients sought more than 20,000 episodes of care in Hedland, Karratha and Newman last financial year.
Health professionals also flew more than 40 Pilbara patients out of the region to seek intensive treatment at Broome’s Mabu Liyan acute psychiatric unit and or at Perth’s mental health inpatient beds.
Speaking in Parliament, Liberal MP Donna Faragher said these patients were flown out of the Pilbara because it did not have “an authorised mental health inpatient unit” for those needing longer-term hospital care.
She said WA Country Health Service’s Pilbara Mental Health and Drug Service instead focused on providing community-based mental health services.
Ms Farragher’s comments revealed the Hedland Health Campus provided 10,828 different services of mental health and drug care during the 2015-16 financial year, while Newman’s medical team provided 4659 and Karratha’s Nickol Bay Hospital 7390.
Shadow health minister Stephen Dawson said the figures “show there’s a massive need for more services”.
“Residents in the East Pilbara, in particular, tell me they are often forced to wait to access services because the existing staff are overworked,” he said.