The state government isn’t bankrupt. It has the capacity to find money, to raise money, to borrow money. So what the hell is its excuse for this?
MENTALLY ill Victorians who should be in psychiatric care spend up to four days in emergency departments because of a shortage of beds…
Dr Eddey said that, depending on how unwell people were, they could be behaving violently and require restraint in a secure room with constant supervision. Regardless of their behaviour, he said it was inappropriate for them to be treated in emergency departments.
”If you don’t have a specialised quiet room, which only some places have, general cubicles subject you to 24-hour light, 24-hour noise and 24-hour activity. If you’re mentally ill, it’s probably the worst place to be.”
The closing of mental health facilities over the past twenty years and the reduction of funding to those that remain – under both Liberal and Labor – is one of the stupidest and most short-sighted forms of cost-cutting in Victorian history. It makes the condition of desperately unwell people worse (making it more expensive to treat them in the long run) and, for some, it makes certain crimes inevitable, creating further public expense in police, lawyers and courts – not including the cost of the crimes themselves. And most importantly, it’s inhuman and unjust.
What’s the Mental Health Minister have to say for herself?
A spokeswoman for Mental Health Minister Lisa Neville said waits had improved in recent years: 4 per cent of patients waited longer than a day for admission in 2004-05, and less than 1 per cent did so this year.
She said the Government had funded an extra 139 mental health beds, 24 community care beds and 100 prevention and recovery beds since 2002 and was in the midst of the ”biggest reform agenda in Victoria’s history”, which included $18 million for a new triage system.
That’s not the same thing at all. What plan does Ms Neville have to address the problem? Clearly “139 mental health beds” is not even close to meeting the need, and it doesn’t in any way address the other shortfalls in the system. Nor would improved triage methods. There should never be a mentally ill person who is turned away, or who is unable to receive treatment.
It’s just not good enough. Minister Neville – fix it. This isn’t a pissy little scandal you can brush aside that’ll be forgotten in a week – the effects will be felt every day until you do your job.
If you can’t, resign and let them replace you with someone who’ll take the matter seriously.
AND The Age? Nice to see some actual genuine journalism. If only your site didn’t feature forced video ads with sound and enormous pop-ups that take over the whole screen. The former is something I’d pay for. The latter makes me very reluctant to link to you at all.