Hon Roger Cook BA GradDipBus MBA MLA

Hon Roger Cook BA GradDipBus MBA MLA

Deputy Premier; Minister for Health; Mental Health

    State’s first Urgent Care Clinic helps address drug and alcohol issues

    9/09/2018 9:00 AM
    • Royal Perth Hospital (RPH) is making inroads in the State's battle against drug and alcohol problems
    • RPH is the home of the State's first Urgent Care Clinic (Toxicology) which has now been open for three months
    • The new unit has taken pressure off the emergency department 

    Since opening just over three months ago, Royal Perth Hospital's Urgent Care Clinic (UCC) has treated 300 drug and/or alcohol affected patients. Previously, many of these cases were being looked after for lengthy periods in the main area of the emergency department; they are now given specialist treatment in a separate location.  


    Of the 300 patients treated in the UCC (Toxicology) to the end of August 2018, more than a third related to methamphetamine use, with the other admissions comprising of alcohol and other drugs.


    Since the UCC opened on May 22, 2018 until August 30:

    • 300 patients have been treated;
    • More men (58 per cent), compared to women (42 per cent) have been admitted; and
    • Men aged 30 to 49 years old were the most common patients. 

    Data collected by the UCC (Toxicology) dispelled the myth that most drug and alcohol affected patients attended emergency departments at the weekend. In the last three months at RPH, a Tuesday or Thursday lunchtime was likely to be just as busy as a Friday or Saturday evening.


    The Urgent Care Clinic (Toxicology) has six dedicated treatment bays, made up of five beds and one chair, and is located in the emergency department directly adjacent to the current emergency medicine ward.


    It is staffed by a mix of dedicated new and existing RPH medical staff with support from toxicologists, drug and alcohol workers, mental health clinicians and social workers, and provides a short-term inpatient service.


    Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook:


    "Although it is early days, indications suggest the specialist Urgent Care Clinic at RPH is a resounding success. I will ask other WA health service providers to consider the rollout of this model in more tertiary hospitals. It offers appropriate care to drug and alcohol affected patients, whilst allowing the emergency department to focus on the individual care of other patients.


    "The Urgent Care Clinic (Toxicology) means doctors, nurses, social workers and mental health specialists can address the specific high acuity needs of patients with toxicology and behavioural issues within a separate designated area of the emergency department.


    "While the election commitment on Urgent Care Clinics envisaged an acute primary care setting, the success of this toxicology-based unit means we will look at expanding the model elsewhere. 


    "The UCC (Toxicology) supports high-quality care for a specialist group of patients in an appropriate environment, it builds upon similar models currently in place in the Eastern States."


    Minister's office - 6552 6500