Not enough beds at Vic secure hospital

Waiting lists will continue at Victoria's secure mental health hospital for prisoners, despite extra beds opening, a new report says.

Waiting lists will continue for prisoners needing treatment at Victoria's secure forensic mental health hospital, despite the addition of 18 new beds, a report says.

In its annual report on Thursday, the Victorian Institute of Forensic Mental Health says it remains "critically concerned" about its ability to respond to the mental health needs of the rising jail population.

"Too many prisoners, both men and women, are detained in circumstances where they are not receiving the treatment they need in prison for want of adequate bed capacity at Thomas Embling Hospital," the report says.

Even with the 18 new beds funded by the state government almost complete, adding to the current 116, demand for beds has grown more than threefold.

"There remains great pressure on hospital beds from all three sources of patients, forensic, prisoners and civil, with the inability to meet appropriate levels of timely access to treatment," the report says.

"Even with 18 additional beds, there will continue to be waiting lists for people to be admitted to the hospital."

The report authors says the state's rising jail population has not been matched by a proportional growth in the number of beds for prisoners needing compulsory treatment at Thomas Embling.

While the agency has been working with the government to build on its previous funding pledge to plan for a new hospital service, it says the money has not eventuated.

As at June 30, 12 men were in jail awaiting transfer to Thomas Embling, after being found suitable by the courts, but there were no beds, the report said.

The Victorian Institute of Forensic Mental Health, or Forensicare, is the statewide specialist provider of forensic mental health services in Victoria.

Published 20 September 2018 at 12:02pm
Source: AAP