Cootamundra MP Katrina Hodgkinson wants mental health room at hospital

SAFE PLACE: Doctor Chetan Valabjee with Cootamundra MP Katrina Hodgkinson. Picture: Craig Thomson.
SAFE PLACE: Doctor Chetan Valabjee with Cootamundra MP Katrina Hodgkinson. Picture: Craig Thomson.

Cootamundra MP Katrina Hodgkinson has called for a designated mental health safe room and security support at the Young District Hospital.

The Young hospital is a declared mental health facility for the Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) and Ms Hodkinson said it was time for urgent action.

"I have been hearing more and more accounts of the experiences of staff and police at Young District Hospital that further indicate the urgent need for action," she said.

Ms Hodkinson said there have been many examples of why the room was needed.

"For example, there was an incident recently where an individual, referred to by health professionals as a homicidal psychotic, presented at Young District Hospital and there was just one doctor and one nurse rostered on at the time," she said.

"Had there been adequate security support and a designated mental health safe room, the situation could have been managed much better, and more safely, for all concerned. 

"We should consider also the safety of other patients at the hospital when staff are trying to deal with such cases. I understand that local staff who have been involved in or are aware of such instances at the hospital are extremely worried, with some refusing to work night shifts due to the lack of support."

MLHD Director of Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Robyn Manzie said the redevelopment of an area in the Young Emergency Department as a safe assessment room is progressing.

"When guidelines are finalised, the room will be developed in consultation with local mental health staff and other clinicians," she said.

"NSW Health, including Ambulance and the Police work together to respond to situations involving people with mental health concerns to ensure the safety of all patients, staff and visitors."

Cootamundra LAC Superintendent Christopher Schilt said a mental health space at the hospital was primarily a health issue, but police would welcome any improvement that allows for increased safety of the public and workers.