The management of the mental health portfolio has been called into question after Mental Health Minister Gail Gago confirmed there were long waiting times for acute mental health beds in the same week she had publicly claimed otherwise, Shadow Mental Health Minister Michelle Lensink said today
“Minister Gago confirmed today that when she was reported on radio as saying, “We’ve got adequate acute bed numbers…” (891 Monday, 16 October 2006) there were actually horrific waiting lists for admission to acute beds,” Ms Lensink said.
“During the very same week, the Royal Adelaide Hospital had 20 patients on their waiting list and The Queen Elizabeth Hospital 10 patients.
“I have been contacted by concerned people who have informed me some patients have been detained under guard in the emergency department at the RAH for over a week before a bed became available!
“This is an unacceptable situation to have – those most in need in our society should not have to go through such a traumatic experience.
“The Minister also did not deny that private beds have had to be purchased from the Adelaide Clinic to cope with the demand for services.
“How can the South Australian public be confident in the management of mental health services when the Minister does not seem to know what is going on?
“The Minister has continually denied that there are problems in the mental health system but patients are experiencing otherwise.
“The Rann Government is in denial that its mental health services are in crisis. If they were prepared to regularly publish waiting list numbers for acute beds, the community might believe it too.”