Hospital joins mental health initiative



GLADSTONE Hospital has been chosen as one of the sites for a trail-blazing initiative designed to develop better care for mental health patients.

Project facilitator Sue Parson- age said the National Institute of Clinical Studies program would collect data from hospitals around Australia.

Using the information, a new national triage system would then be adopted to improve how quickly patients with mental il- nesses were treated.

'It has been identified that mental health patients have long- er waits and tend not to be treated as urgent because they may not display physical symptoms,' she said.

'Because they are not physical- ly incapacitated they tend to leave before seeing a doctor because they become impatient or think they are wasting someone's time. Then they come back several times over following days.' ' The program is designed to cut waiting times and ensure mental health patients don't float in and out of the attention of health and law workers.

'We don't want them to leave and go away,' Ms Parsonage said. It's about recognising their problems are just as important as other people.

'Then hopefully we can reduce the risk of self harm or suicide attempts.'

It is hoped the initiative will also reduce the number of inci- dents patients become involved in when they are not appropriately treated.

'This way hopefully police won't have to pick them up.'



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