Fiona Stanley Hospital youth mental health ward short of staff

Stock image.
Stock image.

FIONA Stanley Hospital’s 14-bed mental health unit for young people is operating with just eight beds as the hospital tries to recruit staff in the hopes of opening the full ward by December.

It is the only hospital to provide a service for young people aged 16 to 24.

Across Perth, the Department of Health indicates 16 publicly-funded beds are unavailable, including all eight beds at Princess Margaret Hospital.

This figure does not include the shortfall of mental health beds for youth at FSH.

The State has allocated just over 700 mental health beds in the metro area within public and private hospitals with 686 of those available.

Four beds for adult mental health patients are unavailable at Bentley Hospital and four beds for the elderly are unavailable at Rockingham General Hospital.

“The number of people waiting for an inpatient mental health bed fluctuates on a daily basis,” a spokesman for the South Metropolitan Health Service said.

“Patients requiring an inpatient mental health bed are assessed according to their needs.

“Patients who are in the community will continue to be cared for in their home with appropriate community support, and patients within Emergency Departments are also safely managed.”

The Mental Health Specialist Youth Unit provides short to medium term care for youth who are experiencing severe episodes of mental illness and who cannot be adequately managed in the community.

FSH also has a mental health liaison service in its ED and a Youth Community Assessment Treatment Team that works closely with schools, community services and GPs to help people in the 16-24 year bracket access early intervention services.

“The team focuses on reaching out before crisis occurs, reducing stigma and providing intensive community support in vulnerable times,” the health spokesman said. FSH has an eight-bed Mother and Baby unit and eight mental health beds for adults.