Psychological well being sufferers are being pressured to attend for a mattress on the Royal Darwin Hospital because the Northern Territory’s well being system battles a surge in demand.
- The NT Well being Minister has admitted Darwin’s hospital is below stress amid an increase in sufferers searching for psychological well being companies
- She informed an Estimates listening to psychological well being sufferers are ready for beds each day
- NT Well being says work is underway to reconfigure wards to supply extra psychological well being beds
Northern Territory Well being Minister Natasha Fyles stated the hospital’s two grownup psychological well being wards – the 18-bed Cowdy Ward and the eight-bed Joan Ridley ward – “function at 100 per cent, if not over capability”.
Talking at an Estimates committee listening to on Wednesday, Ms Fyles stated well being authorities had been urgently searching for spare beds and “reconfiguring” wards to take care of an rising variety of individuals presenting on the emergency division for his or her psychological well being.
“It has been a sustained enhance and we all know that there are elements driving that, COVID has been an element driving that, and that is one thing that hospitals round Australia have had.
“We’re at capability.”
Sufferers saved ready each day
Ms Fyles informed Estimates that on common 3.3 shoppers had been being made to attend for a psychological well being inpatient mattress each day, however conceded these charges had “actually been larger at instances”.
Ms Fyles stated the necessity for extra acute beds at Royal Darwin Hospital was pressing and well being authorities had been already working to extend capability.
“We’re attempting to reconfigure our beds that we have to supply more room as a short-term choice,” she stated.
NT Well being chief government Frank Daly informed Estimates psychiatry sufferers characterize between 5 and 10 per cent of emergency shows at Royal Darwin Hospital.
“Clearly, they arrive to emergency departments as a result of they’re in disaster they usually want each an intensive medical and psychiatric evaluation once they arrive,” he stated.
NT Well being guarantees extra beds
Minister Fyles stated psychological well being was a “high precedence” for her and flagged extra psychological well being beds had been on the best way to alleviate the buckling system.
She informed Estimates a proposed 18-bed unit for psychological well being sufferers at Royal Darwin Hospital went out to tender final week.
The brand new unit will embrace a so-called “stabilisation and referral space”, which Ms Fyles stated would offer a extra therapeutic surroundings for psychological well being shoppers who want statement.
She additionally flagged the opening of a brand new grownup group psychological well being facility in Darwin later this yr.
“We do not need individuals in hospital,” she stated.
“Individuals typically get caught up in hospital, they usually get caught sectioned, and we wish to try to present them with these helps away from that acute setting.