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Boost to mental health services at Waitakere ED

News Item

posted by WM Admin on 11 March 2015

Waitemata DHB media release, 5 March 2015

Waitakere Hospital’s Emergency Department is set to offer an enhanced acute mental health service to the West Auckland population.

From May, mental health and addictions service staff will be based in the ED during the afternoon and evening shifts seven days-a-week. They will be able to undertake prompt after-hours clinical assessments instead of the current system, requiring the availability of after-hours psychiatry registrars who cover a number of sites.

Chief Executive Dr Dale Bramley said having specialist staff on-site at the point of presentation would help achieve the best clinical outcomes and an enhanced patient experience of the health system.

“This will result in faster treatment and support for people in need of specialist mental health assessment and will provide a more responsive service to the needs of the West Auckland population,” Dr Bramley said.

“Since the Waitakere ED became a 24/7 service almost two years ago, we have observed a major increase in the number of patients presenting needing some input from our mental health services as part of their overall care requirements.

“This expansion recognises that demand and puts the right people to provide the best care in the right place at the right time. It also supports our ED staff in managing people presenting with mental health concerns.”

The enhanced Waitakere ED mental health service will result in additional spending of around $360,000 per year but the reduction in delays and improvement in patient experience was expected to more than justify the cost.

Waitemata DHB Mental Health Service and Addictions General Manager Ian McKenzie said staff based at Waimarino, the West Auckland Community Mental Health Team Hub, would continue to function as normal during day shifts, with the additional resources allowing a better after-hours back-up system.

“This is good news for patients with mental health and addictions needs and also for their loved ones, who understandably want to see any delays in the treatment pathway minimised,” Mr McKenzie said. 

“It provides the same level of access to assessment after-hours as is available during business hours and will help expedite treatment, which we know is critical to supporting positive outcomes.”

The new service will also enhance support to Waitemata Police. Since October 2013, any person taken into custody in Rodney, North Shore and Waitakere is processed at the District Custody Unit, based at the Henderson Police Station.