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Thursday, 8 August 2013

Mental Health Patient’s Welfare Concerns Dismissed by Minister

The underwhelming but not unexpected response from the Minister for Mental Health Mary Wooldridge (Bendigo Advertiser 8th August 2013) to my request for a review into the safety, welfare and security for mental health patients at the Alexander Bayne Centre is not only disappointing but reflects the Liberal National State government’s failure to address the growing community concerns about a mental health system that is reaching crisis levels, Member for Bendigo West said today.

“Having a nephew with a mental illness who has also been an inpatient at the Alexander Bayne Centre has given me a very good understanding of the very real difficulties being faced by mental health patients, and by their carers and families.”

“The Minister has failed to give consideration to the request for a review even though a recent Coroner’s recommendation was that regular safety and security audits be conducted at the Centre.”

“Dr Tune (Bendigo Advertiser 8th August 2013) makes a very valid point in declaring the facility is not a prison – and it should never be seen as such.”

“Nevertheless, if the welfare of patients at the Alexander Bayne Centre is of the highest priority for the management at the Centre then regular safety and security audits should have already been conducted.”

Ms Edwards said there is also growing concern that many mental health patients in our region are simply not able to access community based mental health services before entering hospital, and recent data reveals that one in five patients is failing to receive care in the community after leaving hospital.

“In addition, the lack of suitable and affordable rental properties and government housing available to people with a mental health illness remains a huge concern and needs addressing urgently.”

“Many patients are staying in CCUs much longer than is required making badly needed beds unavailable. A shortage of inpatient beds has serious implications for admissions and waiting periods in the Emergency Department at Bendigo Health.”

“At the Alexander Bayne Centre in Bendigo in June 2012, Community Visitors reported there were eight patients concurrently in ED. Two of these patients were reported to remain in ED for more than 24 hours and a third patient was sent home after 23 hours but represented an hour or two later.”

“The Liberal National government has ripped over $800 million from Victoria’s health system since coming to office and this is having a devastating impact on mental health treatment services.”

“The concerns for the welfare of people who have a mental illness deserve a much more substantial response from the Minister than flippant personal attacks.”

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