Almost 6 in every 10 Victorians suffering from an acute mental health crisis are waiting longer than 8 hours to be transferred from emergency departments to inpatient beds, according to new data from the Victorian Agency for Health Information (VAHI) released today for the October-December 2022 reporting period.
This confirms a year-on-year decline of almost 5 percentage points from the same 2021 reporting period and highlights that Victorians are not receiving the timely care for mental health emergencies they deserve.
It also follows this week’s alarming Coroner’s Court Monthly Suicide Data Report – December 2022, which reported on the same period as today’s VAHI report and revealed increased suicide rates after years of plateauing in what the State Coroner referred to as “troubling” and a signal of a potentially emerging trend.
Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Emma Kealy, is calling on the Andrews Labor Government to take action and fix Victoria’s broken mental health system.
“This week’s reports from VAHI and the Coroner’s Court reveal the heartbreaking human toll of Labor’s failure to address the mental health workforce crisis,” Ms Kealy said.
“It’s shameful the Andrews Labor Government has kept this data hidden rather than putting all their effort into fixing Victoria’s mental health workforce crisis.
“We are losing far too many Victorians to suicide, and when people need mental health support they have to wait far too long – if they’re able to get help at all.
“The Premier and Minister for Mental Health must take action to reverse these trends to ensure that Victorians can get the mental health support they need, when they need it.
“The Liberals and Nationals are willing to work constructively with the government to support any practical improvements to Victoria’s mental health system.
“This isn’t about politics, it’s about Victorian lives – Labor must be transparent with the depth of Victoria’s mental health crisis and get on with delivering the mental health royal commission recommendations delivered back in 2019.”