Medics eye meth hub risk

Manjimup-Bridgetown Times - - News - Holly Thomp­son

Con­cerns have been raised over a pro­posed drug re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre be­ing lo­cated in Pem­ber­ton, as health care pro­fes­sion­als warn a lack of re­sources would put pres­sure on health ser­vices.

As part of the State Gov­ern­ment’s Metham­phetamine Ac­tion Plan, For­agers Field Kitchen and Cook­ing School has been nom­i­nated as the po­ten­tial site for a Cyre­nian House Ther­a­peu­tic Health Cam­pus.

The pro­posed drug re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre would have a max­i­mum ca­pac­ity of 21 beds and be funded through a $9.3 mil­lion Roy­al­ties for Re­gions grant.

Pem­ber­ton Med­i­cal Cen­tre doc­tor Lukas Ve­sely and pracmine. man­ager and psy­chol­o­gist Lara Ve­sela voiced their con­cerns about the lo­ca­tion of the cen­tre at the last Man­jimup Shire Coun­cil meet­ing.

While they are not op­posed to the cen­tre, they do not be­lieve Pem­ber­ton is equipped to deal with a fa­cil­ity on this scale.

“As health­care providers we are happy to see this kind of fund­ing be­ing made avail­able in the South West to ad­dress the metham­phetamine cri­sis,” Mrs Ve­sela said.

“How­ever, the town runs on a vol­un­teer am­bu­lance and has min­i­mal po­lice re­sources and med­i­cal staff.

“So the two-hour trip to Bun­bury to give these pa­tients ap­pro­pri­ate care, should some­thing go wrong, is our main con­cern.”

Dr Ve­sely said Pem­ber­ton Hos­pi­tal trans­ferred un­co­op­er­a­tive, ag­gres­sive or ag­i­tated pa­tients to Bun­bury.

He said the hos­pi­tal would strug­gle to man­age any pa­tients who had re­lapsed from metham­phetamine re­cov­ery.

“There is an 88 per cent re­lapse rate for this kind of ad­dic­tion, this town is just not pre­pared for this, it’s all very rushed and hap­pen­ing far too quickly,” he said.

“Our job is to help peo­ple and we have to ask where the best place to help them re­ally is.”

Dr Ve­sely said he thought other pa­tients’ care at Pem­ber­ton Hos­pi­tal would be com­pro­mised if the staff there were also re­quired to treat those ad­dicted to metham­phetat­ice At the coun­cil meet­ing, the pair said the Pem­ber­ton Hos­pi­tal had no 24/7 doc­tor on call and was staffed by only two nurses with no se­cu­rity on site.

The South West Com­mu­nity Drug Ser­vice team is based in Bun­bury and pro­vides a weekly ser­vice to Man­jimup.

The near­est com­mu­nity men­tal health ser­vice is lo­cated in Bridgetown.

Mrs Ve­sela said pa­tients who had been on metham­phetamine were more prone to heart at­tacks and stroke, which was an­other ma­jor con­cern.

They be­lieved the ser­vice should in­stead be based some­where closer to Bun­bury where ser­vices were avail­able to pro­vide pa­tients the best chance at re­cov­ery.

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