MORE than $2 million will be spent employing six nurse positions to specialise in patients under the influence of drugs and alcohol in a bid to expand the state’s Meth Strategy.
Fiona Stanley Hospital already has two drug and alcohol specialist nurses, so it will not be allocated a so-called “meth nurse”.
The six full-time equivalent clinical nurse specialist positions will be posted at hospitals in Armadale, Rockingham, Midland, Royal Perth, Bunbury, Joondalup and the Peel Health Campus.
“In determining where the nurses would go, the MHC looked at which emergency departments had the highest presentation rates for drug-related issues, in order to assist the largest number of people,” Next Step Drug and Alcohol Services Director Susan Alarcon said.
“The South Metropolitan Community Alcohol and Drug Service (CADS) with sites in Fremantle, Rockingham and Mandurah and the South East Metropolitan CADS with sites in Thornlie and Armadale offer treatment and support to patients referred from FSH,” Ms Alarcon said.
Funding has been allocated to Next Step as well as to the South West Community Alcohol and Drug Service to support Bunbury hospital.
The $2.28 million includes salaries and basic staff costs associated with those positions, such as computers, phones, travel between hospitals.
The extra nurses will start in hospital emergency departments from January 2017 the specialist nurses will provide screening, assessment and intervention, as well as support to other hospital staff responding to complex meth-related cases.
The funding was announced at the launch of the State Government’s $500,000 expanded media campaign to reduce methamphetamine use and direct people to the new Meth Helpline.
The helpline (1800 874 878) is free, confidential and anonymous and provides professional counselling, ongoing advice, referrals and information, and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.