Secure mental health facility maxed out

A detainee at Canberra’s maximum-security prison has waited more than 130 days for a rehabilitation bed at Dhulwa’s secure mental health facility, according to a ministerial advisory note.
“The last thing inmates need is to wait for mental health treatment, especially coming on top of being denied healthcare in the early hours of the recent lockdown,” Shadow Health Minister Vicki Dunne said.
The note, obtained by the Canberra Liberals under freedom of information laws, showed that Dhulwa Mental Health Unit is completely maxed out.
The facility’s 10 acute and seven rehabilitation beds reached 100 per cent capacity in September, but rehabilitation beds have been at capacity since at least June 2019. Another eight beds have not been commissioned because the facility is facing “workforce challenges” described as “attraction and retention of senior clinical staff and specialist Forensic Psychiatrists.”
“The ACT’s acute mental health services are completely maxed out,” Mrs Dunne said.
“The Canberra Hospital’s adult mental health unit has been operating at or very near to 100 per cent capacity for at least a year, putting enormous pressure on the emergency department, as well as general wards and the long-suffering staff. Now we have learned that Dhulwa is also at capacity.
“And this does not even cater for adolescents with mental health problems, for whom the ACT has no facility at all, with some adolescents being sent to the adult unit.
“The ACT’s mental health system is in crisis and Chief Minister Andrew Barr and his Mental Health Minister Shane Rattenbury have completely lost focus.
“The Barr Labor-Greens Government can’t be trusted on health,” Mrs Dunne said.