Mental health nurse a priority

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Vasse MLA Libby Mettam has advocated for a Psychiatric Liaison Nurse for more than two years
Camera IconVasse MLA Libby Mettam has advocated for a Psychiatric Liaison Nurse for more than two years Credit: Taelor Pelusey/Busselton-Dunsborough Times, Taelor Pelusey

Residents and suicide prevention workers have increased their campaign for Health Minister Roger Cook to prioritise the recruitment of a mental health nurse at Busselton Health Campus.

The number of attendances to BHC emergency department for mental health or drug-related issues has increased by 12 per cent in the past three years.

The figure grows to an increase of over 28 per cent at Margaret River Hospital. These patients are often sedated and transferred by ambulance to Bunbury Regional Hospital, where a psychiatric liaison nurse is available seven days a week.

Lamp Inc area program manager Nicole Slevec said these patients were often discharged hours after being admitted.

“We need to simplify the process of people getting into hospital and receiving assistance in times of unwellness,” she said.

In August last year, Mr Cook told the Times a psychiatric liaison nurse would be appointed by the end of 2019.

A spokesperson for the WA Country Health Service said the service was undergoing a recruitment process for the psychiatric liaison nurse position.

Mr Cook said the matter was a priority and the position is advertised.

“Mental health support at Busselton Health Campus is assured through the community mental health team and an on-call psychiatrist. These two services ensure 24/7 mental health coverage at the facility,” he said.

Vasse MLA Libby Mettam urged the minister to ensure the recruitment was accelerated.

“Despite being advised by the minister that a PLN would be in place by the end of 2019, it is disappointing to learn that the Department is still going through the recruitment process,” she said.

137 mental health patients under the age of 18 presented to Busselton Health Campus in 2019.

Shining Hope WA committee member Jon Eddy said a psychiatric nurse in Busselton would be “fantastic”.

“I think we could benefit from a safe place for young people who are feeling vulnerable or are considering self harm,” he said.

Mr Eddy’s eldest son Alex tragically took his life last year and Mr Eddy said if more resources were available to at risk youth then maybe his son would still be alive.

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