Action underway to improve mental health service in Gippsland

Help is on the way to improve access to mental health services in Gippsland through the establishment of a $10 million emergency department mental health hub at Latrobe Regional Hospital (LRH) to assist those experiencing serious mental health and alcohol and drug issues.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien said he hoped the establishment of the hub would result in significant improvements to the mental health services currently available at LRH, which has repeatedly failed to meet service targets.

“I recently asked the Minister for Mental Health, Gabrielle Williams what was being done to improve mental health services for Gippslanders following the release of data from the Department of Health which showed mental health bed occupancy at LRH sitting at 105% for the January-March 2023 quarter.

“These same reports showed that only 39 per cent of mental health patients who present to the emergency department are admitted to an LRH mental health bed within eight hours – when the target is 80 per cent.”

Mr O’Brien said he had now received a response from the Minister which indicated that the emergency department mental health hub, which was first announced by the Andrews Labor Government in May 2022 as a $6.5 million investment, is currently under construction and is anticipated to improve service targets.

“While I am grateful that the emergency department mental health hub is under construction, I don’t think that it is reasonable to allow the current service level to continue while we wait for this new facility.

“I am therefore grateful to also report that the Minster advises LRH has been working closely with Safer Care Victoria and the Chief Psychiatrist to deliver additional improvements including enhancing their emergency department capacity and appointing a hospital bed flow coordinator.

“This is an area I will continue to monitor and hope to see significant improvements when the data for the next quarter is released.”

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