BALLARAT Health Services Base Hospital emergency department staff will able to better respond to drug and alcohol-affected patients thanks to a $500,000 state government grant.
Health Minister Mary Wooldridge yesterday announced the emergency department was one of 21 across Victoria to receive the four-year funding under the “Reducing the alcohol and drug toll: Victoria’s plan 2013-2017” released last week.
The money will go towards employing extra specialist staff, with emergency departments with high volumes of alcohol and drug-affected patients targeted.
“This initiative will help Ballarat Base Hospital’s emergency department staff to provide better support, identification, management and treatment of people who are intoxicated or drug-affected,” Ms Wooldridge said.
“These patients require intensive resources and place considerable pressure on hospitals.
“This initiative aims to achieve a long-term decrease in the number of people with alcohol and drug issues being re-admitted to emergency departments and better use of referral pathways for patients to receive the best and most appropriate care, whether in a hospital or a community setting.”
Ms Wooldridge said drug and alcohol-affected patients presented serious challenges for emergency departments, in particular those under the influence of emerging drugs such as “ice”, which is associated with increased violent behaviour.
Western Victoria MP Simon Ramsay said the funding showed the state government’s commitment to Ballarat.