New forensic beds to ease pressure on EDs

Ten new forensic mental health beds have opened at Glenside, increasing bed capacity across the system and helping to relieve pressure on metropolitan emergency departments.

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said opening the dedicated Forensic Secure Inpatient Unit would free up general mental health beds in our hospitals and reduce unnecessary long waits in emergency departments for mental health consumers waiting for an acute bed.

“These 10 new forensic beds will also provide forensic patients with a more clinically appropriate space for their treatment,” Minister Wade said.

“Forensic mental health puts significant pressure on our emergency departments. On any given day there are more than eight forensic patients in our acute mental health units and Emergency Departments.

“While our clinicians do their best to accommodate forensic patients, it’s not ideal for the patient, other consumers or our staff.

“Creating this additional capacity gives forensic patients access to a dedicated space for treatment and provides general mental health consumers with better access to appropriate care.

SA Forensic Mental Health Clinical Director, Dr Narain Nambiar, said the measure would help address the increasing demand for forensic mental health services.

“This not only eases pressure on our emergency departments but will enable us to treat forensic patients in the most appropriate environment,” Dr Nambiar said.

“In addition, we have developed a model of care specific to the Glenside facility, which will allow streamlined treatment and rehabilitation opportunities for this group of patients.”

South Australia’s Chief Psychiatrist, Dr John Brayley, has approved the facility, following an inspection by his team which included an interstate psychiatrist.

The creation of the 10 additional forensic beds is one of a number of strategies to improve wait times and access to beds for mental health consumers.

Other initiatives include opening a 10 bed Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at the Royal Adelaide Hospital in January, implementing a Forensic Court Assessment and Diversion Service, establishing a dedicated short stay mental health unit at the Lyell McEwin Hospital and commitment to a future Urgent Mental Health Centre.

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