THE state government has opened a new emergency clinic to treat drug-and-alcohol affected patients at Royal Perth Hospital, after hospital staff and other patients in ER reached breaking point.
The new six-patient “Urgent Care Clinic” will specialise in toxicology and treat “patients who can be disruptive to other patients and staff, and at worst pose a security threat”.
Clinic staff will be supported by drug and alcohol specialists, homeless healthcare professionals, mental health clinicians and social workers.
Other measures to be rolled out to ensure staff and patient safety include more CCTV, staff training in de-escalation techniques and the purchase of 250 stab vests and personal alarms for frontline staff.
The new clinic follows an announced $11.8 million in funding towards building a mental health observation area at RPH.
Health minister Roger Cooke says; “while the election commitment on Urgent Care Clinics envisaged an acute primary care setting, the advice from the Department of Health was that a toxicology unit at RPH would best serve the needs of the hospital and ease pressure on the emergency department”.
Perth MP John Carey agrees: “It just makes common sense given there is a high number of people affected by drugs and alcohol coming through Royal Perth, that we have a dedicated unit that will be able to treat people specifically presenting with those issues, and with mental health issues,” he says.
“Having a dedicated unit is going to provide relief and ease the pressure of the main emergency unit. It’s welcome, I know the city community welcome this.”
by DAVID BELL