Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) — My adjournment is for the Minister for Mental Health, and the action I am seeking is for better triaging of mental health patients in emergency departments. In 2014 the former government established a psychiatric assessment and planning unit — a PAPU, as it is known — at the Maroondah Hospital to improve patient access and ease the demand on the emergency department (ED).
The four-bed unit provides fast access for approximately 400 patients per year to short-term specialist assessment and treatment for people experiencing acute mental illness, without requiring admission to an acute mental health inpatient bed, which we know are in very short supply. So for people with short-term mental health treatment needs such as drug-induced psychoses, medication overdoses or suicidal ideation or those in need of being assessed under the Mental Health Act 2014, the PAPU ensures faster access to appropriate care. It also helps to divert preventable admissions to acute mental health inpatient beds and generally makes the emergency department a calmer place. Importantly, as I said, this reduces demand on the emergency department by admitting people from the ED and improves patient flow through the ED by providing emergency department access beds to people who have an acute psychosis due to ice use, an overdose of prescription medication et cetera. This really is important, given the increasing instances of acute mental health presentations to emergency departments. Accordingly the action I seek of the government is that it expands this successful model across the state to reduce the increasing burden on our emergency departments.