INDEPENDENT NEWS

Mental Health Care Requires Balance

Published: Thu 1 Dec 2005 08:13 AM
Mental Health Care Requires Balance
The tragic incident which led to the death of Kevan Newman highlights the difficulties that exist with the emphasis on community care for mental health patients, says ACT Health Spokesman, Heather Roy.
"Not everybody can be treated effectively in the community, but the number of hospital beds for mental health patients has been progressively whittled down," Mrs Roy said.
"Furthermore, beds available for patients requiring longer term care are extremely difficult to find, putting further pressure on acute beds.
"Sometimes patients need respite from the pressures that exist within our communities, but the fragmented system leaves prisons and the streets to pick up the slack when people fall between the cracks.
"The pendulum between inpatient treatment and community care has swung too far.
"Mental health has remained the 'poor cousin' in the health system, and ignoring these issues will not make them go away.
"I'm calling on the Minister of Health - yet again - to address this imbalance, which provides safety for neither patients nor people in the community," Mrs Roy said.
ENDS

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