Mentally ill given little help

IMPORTANT infrastructure and services for the mentally ill is not being delivered in Gladstone or Rockhampton, according to lobbyists.

Gladstone Hospital has no mental health beds available and Rockhampton Hospital has not received any mental health beds since 2008 despite a population increase of 12 per cent.

Aside from inadequate investment in dedicated mental health beds, Queensland Government budget papers report a decline in 2009-10 of the number of people treated in the community sector for a mental illness.

Member for Gladstone Liz Cunningham said based on Gladstone’s current and projected growth our health services must improve.  

“For some time now I have been lobbying for a couple of beds in a secured ward,” Ms Cunningham said.

Team Leader for Central Queensland’s Mental Illness Fellowship of Queensland Julie McLean said the loss of beds particularly in rural areas is beyond a joke.

“If somebody presents as being mentally unwell or psychotic they have to be transported to the Gladstone Hospital generally by police,” Ms McLean said.

“Then after assessment that person needs to be sedated and then transported by ambulance to Rockhampton Hospital’s mental health unit.”

Acting Director Central Queensland Mental Health Service Mr Lindsay Farley said the Gladstone Hospital provides comprehensive mental health assessments and treatments. “Gladstone Hospital has close ties to Rockhampton Hospital which provides specialised acute inpatient treatment through a dedicated mental health inpatient unit,” he said.

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