Mental health services at Footscray Hospital have received an $8 million boost.
Western Health has welcomed the state government’s investment of more than $19 million to expand mental health services in western Melbourne.
The five-year funding package aims to streamline the transition of patients with mental health issues from the emergency department through to dedicated mental health services.
A dedicated consultant liaison psychiatrist will be based at Footscray Hospital’s Emergency Department as part of the plan.
Western Health executive director of operations Russell Harrison welcomed the announcement by Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley.
“This is an important initiative for people in the Western suburbs who suffer from mental health issues,” he said.
“Having a consultant liaison psychiatrist at Footscray Hospital Emergency Department will enable more patients to receive urgently needed consultations and will also be an important link between Western Health’s services and mental health services provided by Mercy Health as well as by community care providers.”
Mr Foley said the extra funding for Footscray and Werribee Hospitals would help address pressure on the system.
“The emergency departments in Footscray and Werribee are some of the busiest in the state,” he said.
This funding boost will mean people in the west experiencing mental health issues can get out of the emergency department and into a mental health inpatient unit sooner.”
The state government remains under pressure to rebuild Footscray Hospital’s crumbling emergency department and south block.
A report released last October called for the rundown Footscray Hospital to be refurbished or rebuilt within 15 years.
The report by independent advisory body Infrastructure Victoria was welcomed by Western Health, which has been pushing for demolition and redevelopment of the hospital’s south block and ageing emergency department.
A briefing document prepared for the state government in 2014 warned that more than $300 million needed to be spent at the hospital to keep up with growing demand.