Mental health review cause for concern, say WA Greens
Date:Tuesday, July 3, 2012
The release of the Chief Psychiatrist’s reviews into Fremantle Hospital’s mental health practices has revealed that the hospital is failing those most in need.
The reports were commissioned to examine a tragic spate of deaths among people with mental health problems who had attended Fremantle Hospital.
WA Greens Spokesperson for Mental Health Alison Xamon said the findings were not news to mental health patients, carers and advocates.
“Unfortunately the findings of these reports are not hugely surprising,” Ms Xamon said.
“There are still major gaps in mental health services and successive governments have put their heads in the sand rather than tackle the problem.
“We are talking here about people who are seriously unwell, and it is quite clear that the level of care patients receive is just not adequate.”
Ms Xamon welcomed the recommendations from the reports and said, if implemented, they would provide better support for mentally ill people who sought help at hospital emergency departments.
“Significantly, the report finds that there is not sufficient regard for the critically important role of carers and family,” Ms Xamon said.
“And there is not enough attention paid to the high-risk period surrounding the transition from hospital to community.
“Recommendations such as providing complete psychiatric assessments and individual management plans are welcomed.
“However, the really mind-boggling question is – why are these procedures not already in place?
“If these basic mental health management practices are not being done already, then we are entitled to wonder - what is actually happening in our hospitals?
“We urgently need better ways of making sure our loved ones get the high level of care they deserve in our State health facilities.
“This report shines a light on this tragic situation and the government must act to implement the findings urgently.”