Health care un­der pump

Pilbara News - - News - Ben Leahy

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.

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