Push for vital mental health fund

Sophie ElliottBusselton Dunsborough Times

Busselton Health Campus could receive a significant boost to its mental health capabilities if a pending funding application is successful.

The WA Country Health Service confirmed it was working towards funding a psychiatric liaison nurse to work from Busselton Emergency Department throughout periods of high demand.

The application is in the hands of the WA Primary Health Alliance.

In a letter to Vasse MLA Libby Mettam, Mental Health Minister Roger Cook said he was “hopeful of a positive outcome of the WAPHA funding application in the near future”.

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Should the application be successful, the position will be introduced to educate and support staff in the emergency department in peak periods including evenings and weekends.

Ms Mettam said she welcomed the State Government’s acknowledgement of the need to provide more mental health services to Busselton, Dunsborough and surrounding communities. “I have been calling for a psychiatric liaison to work from Busselton Emergency Department since December 2017,” she said. “I am keen to see this position funded in the 2019-20 State Budget to ensure patients and emergency department clinicians are better supported.

“Access to a psychiatric liaison provides specialist mental health nursing knowledge and advanced mental health nursing skills consistent with contemporary practice.”

A WACHS spokeswoman said in addition to the possible introduction of a psychiatric liaison nurse, Mental Health Emergency Telehealth Services were also set to be launched at the facility in the near future.

“Under this service, mental health patients will be able to receive treatment from a psychiatric specialist in Perth via video-conferencing technology — where medically appropriate, this will reduce the need to travel and allow patients to receive care closer to home,” she said.

Busselton clinical psychologist Keith Mowat joined Ms Mettam in her campaign to see the position funded for Busselton.

He said the news from WACHS was a step in the right direction.

“What we’ve consistently said is by pushing for this we are not being critical of the staff, they do an amazing job, it is about getting more training and support for them to better deal with patients presenting in crisis,” he said.

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