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Blueprint to overhaul mental health and drug and alcohol services in WA released

Date posted: 9 December 2015

A 10-year plan to overhaul mental health care and drug and alcohol services in Western Australia (WA) has been released by the State Government. The plan is a recommended outcome of the 2012 Stokes review, which was commissioned after a number of suicides by patients released from mental health facilities.

The Premier of WA, Colin Barnett, said the plan confronted the systemic changes needed to deliver connected, efficient and high-quality services in the short, medium and longer terms. 'It outlines a clear path from where we are now to where we need to be to provide coordinated and best-practice contemporary mental health care and drug and alcohol services for all West Australians.'

Mental Health Minister, Helen Morton, said the plan called for a six-fold increase in personalised community support services, doubling the number of community-based clinical treatment hours and a three-fold increase in the number of community-based beds over the next decade. Ms Morton said the new beds would open in Rockingham, Kalgoorlie, Broome, Karratha and Bunbury, enabling an extra 500 people to receive subacute treatment each year.

'Services in the community are too few and too hard to access and we are unnecessarily pushing people into secondary level and hospitals through emergency departments,' Ms Morton said. 'Priority areas include improving 24-hour emergency response services, services for Aboriginal communities and for children, expanding alcohol and other drug services hubs in regional areas, and the development of subacute mental health service and residential alcohol and drug rehabilitation services.'

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) noted that whilst the plan outlined necessary improvements, that the Government should ensure the money to fund the improvements is provided.

Source: ABC News

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Last updated: 9 December 2015
 
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Australia's National Research Centre on AOD Workforce Development National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre National Drug Research Institute