Ugent Care Clinic opens at Royal Perth Hospital to treat drug-affected patients

RPH emergency nurse unit manager Sarah-Louise Moyes, Premier Mark McGowan, Health Minister Roger Cook and emergency medicine director David McCoubrie.
RPH emergency nurse unit manager Sarah-Louise Moyes, Premier Mark McGowan, Health Minister Roger Cook and emergency medicine director David McCoubrie.

A SPECIFIC clinic is now open at Royal Perth Hospital (RPH) to deal with patients affected by drugs and alcohol needing emergency treatment.

The Urgent Care Clinic (Toxicology) opened this week at RPH emergency department to help treat and manage intoxicated and drug-affected patients who could be disruptive or pose a security threat.

About 450 patients affected by drugs and alcohol present to RPH each month.

Between January 1 and March 30 this year, RPH security attended 945 aggressive incidents, with 743 of those needing intervention.

Within that period, 70 per cent happened in the ED and 272 patients needed to be physically restrained while another 167 had to be chemically sedated.

Premier Mark McGowan said urgent care clinics took pressure off the busy emergency departments and would enable patients affected by alcohol and drugs to receive dedicated care within an emergency setting.

The clinic has six treatment spaces, including five beds and a chair, and will be staffed by dedicated RPH medical and nursing staff supported by drug and alcohol specialists, homeless healthcare professionals, mental health clinicians and social workers.

Mental Health Minister Roger Cook said the clinic would target “acute behavioural disturbance, usually from people affected by alcohol and drugs” who would need to stay less than 24 hours.

“While the election commitment on Urgent Care Clinics envisaged an acute primary care setting, the advice from the Department of Health was that a toxicology unit at RPH would best serve the needs of the hospital and ease pressure on the emergency department,” he said.

The clinic was part of a recent $11.8 million budget commitment to build a Mental Health Observation Area Plus on the site, which would include a Medihotel, psychiatric services and research centre.

Mr Cook said the Mental Health Observation Area Plus would operate 24/7 and provide management of patients who required longer acute inpatient psychiatric treatment in a secure ward environment.

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