Warrnambool Base Hospital will receive a $500,000 boost to help its emergency department better respond to patients affected by alcohol and drugs, such as ice,Premier and Member for South West Coast Dr Denis Napthine announced today.
“Drug and alcohol-affected patients can be challenging for emergency departments, in particular patients who are under the influence of new and emerging drugs such as ‘ice’,” Dr Napthine said.“This funding will ensure the hospital has the resources it needs to deal with these challenges.”
Dr Napthine said the local emergency department would now decide which new resources will best suit the needs of the local Warrnambool community, which could include hiring a new specialised alcohol and drug specialist or additional training for existing staff.
The initiative builds on the successful initiative announced in the 2012-13 Budget that provided 21 health services, including six regional health services, with additional resources to respond to alcohol and drug-affected patients.
The funding will also complement new laws introduced into Parliament this year that will better protect doctors, nurses and emergency personnel.“In June, the Government introduced legislation that increases the sentence for seriously assaulting an emergency department doctor or nurse to a minimum of six months,” Dr Napthine said.“These reforms were also expanded this week to create a minimum six-month sentence for serious assaults against staff anywhere in a hospital.”
The additional funding announced today follows the $5.7 million, 5.4 per cent increase to the 2014-15 South West Healthcare budget announced earlier this month. “Since coming to Government, the Coalition has been proud to deliver a $26.7 million, 31.4 per cent boost to the South West Healthcare Budget,” Dr Napthine said.