Labor calls for boost to mental health beds
THE long wait times for mental health patients to receive urgent treatment at Tasmanian hospitals were unacceptable, state parliament has heard.
Patients were being forced to wait days for care and ambulance officers were spending long periods ramped outside hospitals waiting with them, Opposition Leader Rebecca White said.
A coronial inquest into the death of Mornington man Joseph Lattimer, 37, who attempted to take his own life while waiting to be admitted to the RHH for psychiatric treatment, began in Hobart on Monday.
The Coroners Court heard psychiatric patients often faced long delays when they sought care through the hospital’s emergency department.
Ms White called on the Government to increase the number of mental health beds.
“Will you finally listen to the advice of clinicians and increase the number of acute mental health beds at the Royal Hobart Hospital to stop patients dying while they’re waiting for the care that they need,” she asked Health Minster Sarah Courtney in state parliament yesterday.
Ms Courtney said the Government was “focused on delivering better mental health care for Tasmanians through our $104 million mental health plan”.
“As you are aware we are of course opening 44 new beds at the Royal next year and this will include a new six-bed mental health assessment unit.”
She extended her condolences to Mr Lattimer’s family for their loss.