Jim McGinty

Jim McGinty

Attorney General; Minister for Health; Electoral Affairs

    Boost for South-West mental health services

    12/07/2005 12:00 AM

    Mental health services in the South-West will receive a $12million funding boost from the State Government.

    Parliamentary Secretary to the Health Minister Sue Ellery MLC, said the additional funding would significantly improve and expand services in the South-West and offer treatment to patients closer to their homes.

    “The $12million will fund projects ranging from the creation of more beds to the employment of extra staff,” Ms Ellery said.

    “A more comprehensive system for the South-West will ensure that fewer patients will have to suffer the inconvenience of travelling to Perth for certain services.”

    Ms Ellery said $5.5million had been committed to more than double the capacity of the Bunbury Acute Psychiatric Unit by September 2006.

    The unit currently had 15 acute beds and would be expanded to a 33-bed facility.

    Ms Ellery said the Government was considering a proposal to establish eight secure beds within the unit to care for highly disturbed or potentially aggressive patients on site rather than transporting them to Perth.

    Ms Ellery said extra medical and support staff would be employed as services expanded.

    These would include:
    • two mental heath professionals (one full-time and one part-time) such as psychiatrists or medical officers;
    • two mental health nurses; and
    • one allied health professional such as a social worker or occupational therapist.
    A further $2.4million has also been set aside to build a dedicated mental health clinic, also by September, 2006. The clinic is currently located in the former Aqwest building in Stirling Street, Bunbury.

    Funding has been committed for 10 community group-supported residential places in Busselton and 15 places in Bunbury, to be completed by December, 2006.

    “The accommodation will allow people with long-term mental health issues to live independently close to services,” Ms Ellery said.

    There is also a further $70,000 for child and adolescent mental health services.

    South West Area Health Service director of direct care David Naughton said the funding was welcomed because it would allow more mental health issues to be dealt with at a local level.

    “One of the big issues has been that we have had to send numbers of people to Perth because of limited capacity at the existing APU,” Mr Naughton said.

    “This will allow us to enhance our capacity to provide services, support and treatment so we do not have to transfer as many people to the metropolitan area.”

    The boost to services in the South-West is part of the Gallop Government's commitment to improving mental health services for all Western Australians.

    The Government has committed an additional $173million for mental health funding over the next three years to make WA the first State to allocate more than nine per cent of the total health budget on mental health services.

    Minister's office: 9220 5000