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SA nurses welcome review on mental health beds

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (SA branch) has welcomed the Health Ministry’s announcement of looking into mental health bed capacity and demand.

Heath Minister Jack Snelling called for the review following reports of nurses opposing the closure of mental health beds due to lack of attention given to patients.

Professor Elizabeth Dabars, CEO of ANMF, said they are pleased that the Minister for Health seems to be listening to their concerns. “The review announced by the Minister is a positive step in the right direction and we look forward to nursing being consulted as part of the review.”

“In recent months, we have been involved in a dispute at Flinders Medical Centre, where nurses have actively opposed the closure of five mental health beds due to the fact that mental health patients do not receive appropriate or timely care, and are instead waiting long periods in the Emergency Department,” Dabars said.

"Nurses have been raising serious concerns regarding the adequacy of mental health beds and resourcing across South Australia for some time,” she said.

Patients and nurses from other metropolitan hospitals have also experienced shortage of acute mental health beds. “These issues are not isolated to FMC, but are being felt across South Australia,” the CEO said.

The ANMF demands that acute mental health beds be re-opened immediately and that the community mental health sector be better resourced and supported.

“Importantly, what we need now is greater investment and decisive action to be taken on these critical issues,” Dabars said.

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