Gippsland mental health service under pressure

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien is calling on the Andrews Labor Government to take action to improve access to mental health services in Gippsland.

Latest data from the Department of Health shows that Latrobe Regional Hospital (LRH), Gippsland’s main acute mental health provider, is failing to meet government service targets, making it increasingly difficult for Gippslanders to receive urgent mental health treatment.

Mr O’Brien raised the data in State Parliament, calling on the Government to address the failings.

“These latest performance indicator reports show the dramatic strain on our mental health services with mental health bed occupancy at LRH sitting at 105% for the January-March 2023 quarter.

“Most concerningly these reports also show that only 39 per cent of mental health patients who present to an emergency department are admitted to an LRH mental health bed within eight hours – when the target is 80 per cent.

“This is no reflection on our hard-working mental health professionals who are doing their best in difficult circumstances,” Mr O’Brien said.

“The Andrews Labor Government cut $60 million from mental health programs in the 2022-23 State Budget and we are now seeing the impact of that on our local mental health service providers.”

Mr O’Brien said the funding cuts in last year’s budget particularly reduced access to community mental health services, reducing the capacity of the system to address mental health problems early.

“The Andrews Labor Government cuts to mental health are in stark contrast to the actions of local community groups who are regularly fundraising and working hard to promote the importance of mental health services.

“Our community has made it clear that more mental health support services – not less – is a local priority and it’s past time for the Andrews Labor Government to produce a budget that reflects that.”

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