Patient transfer hits crisis point
PARAMEDICS at Byron Bay need police help to transfer unstable mental health patients at least once a month.
Health Services Union representative Wayne Lewry said the situation was already at crisis point and he is critical of a police decision to stop escorting patients from hospital to hospital.
“We are going into negotiations to try and solve the problems in relation to the safety of our officers and the welfare of patients,” he said.
“They say patients should be sedated or restrained, but even our mechanical restraint devices need police assistance to put them on 75 to 80 per cent of the time.”
Police corporate spokesperson for mental health Dave Donohue said the change started in metropolitan areas on Monday. It starts in rural areas from February 1.
“We have consulted with the executive of NSW Health and they agree it is the most appropriate way forward in terms of care and destigmatising the patient,” he said.
“If someone rings up from a GP or anywhere in the community and is in crisis and the ambulance is the most appropriate response, if they request a police officer then we will continue to do that.