Queensland medical doctors have revealed some sufferers are being compelled to attend as much as 9 months to safe an appointment with a psychologist or psychiatrist.
- Docs say some sufferers are ready 9 months for appointments
- A Gold Coast hospital has had a 60 per cent improve in psychological well being admissions
- Consultants say extra funding is required from state and federal governments
The state’s peak medical physique mentioned present wait lists had been “catastrophic” and that extra assets had been desperately wanted.
Chair of the Australian Medical Affiliation Queensland Council of Basic Follow, Dr Maria Boulton, mentioned there had been a pointy improve in sufferers looking for assist.
“Generally, the place sufferers ought to be referred to psychologists and psychiatrists, what we’re seeing is an elevated waitlist,” Dr Boulton mentioned.
“For months now we have skilled an elevated presentation in folks coming in with psychological well being points, and most of it’s on the again of COVID.
“It simply makes GPs busier as a result of we proceed to assist these sufferers, we proceed to see them, after all, till they get seen by psychologists or psychiatrists.”
Docs compelled to ‘pull favours’
Psychological well being companies acquired an additional $2.3 billion within the 2021 federal price range however experts have suggested that won’t be enough to alleviate the pressures caused by the COVID pandemic.
Dr Boulton mentioned sufferers typically suffered in silence lengthy earlier than they sought assist, so subsequent delays to e-book a specialist had been irritating.
She mentioned many psychological well being professionals had been already working further hours to try to meet demand.
“They’re doing one of the best they’ll,” Dr Boulton mentioned.
“It is simply that demand is so huge.
Dr Boulton mentioned the state of affairs was dire, with waitlists throughout all age teams together with kids, adults and residents in aged care services.
“It is actually, actually upsetting for sufferers,” she mentioned.
‘It implies that medical doctors, GPs, spend hours on the telephone attempting to get sufferers in and pull favours … it is horrible.”
Look ahead to electroconvulsive remedy
The Southport Non-public Hospital, on the Gold Coast, mentioned it had recorded a “huge” 60 per cent improve in admissions over the previous 12 months.
Government officer Athol Webb mentioned the power had lately doubled its capability to 48 psychological well being beds.
Mr Webb mentioned the hospital ran day remedy teams and had launched electroconvulsive remedy [ECT] as a therapy possibility for extreme despair.
“That is the place we transmit a managed electrical impulse into the mind,” Mr Webb mentioned.
“It is a very efficient, very protected therapy.”
Mr Webb mentioned whereas it may be troublesome for folks to acknowledge they’d psychological well being points, COVID had offered a protected manner of reaching out.
He mentioned his hospital was already working one full ECT session three days per week, regardless that the service was comparatively new.
“Our ECT service may be very near having a waitlist, and day remedy a lot the identical — we nonetheless have some capability,” Mr Webb mentioned.
“We’re in a extremely good place to handle that and we’ve not needed to type of go into panic mode in any respect.”
New psychological well being services ‘essential’
Gold Coast GP Dr Tanya Unni says psychological well being wait occasions are “alarming”.
“The variety of psychologists versus the variety of sufferers who want psychologist companies may be very disproportionate,” Dr Unni mentioned.
The Liberal Nationwide Occasion mentioned psychological well being professionals had been demanding extra companies on the northern Gold Coast for a number of years following a population boom in the area.
However Queensland Well being Minister Yvette D’Ath defended the federal government’s funding.
“The Palaszczuk authorities is delivering a document $1.69 billion in funding for Gold Coast HHS [Hospital and Health Service] in 2020/21.
“We’re centered on delivering new and improved well being companies and infrastructure to cater for the unprecedented demand for well being companies on the Gold Coast.
“This features a new hospital and well being precinct in Coomera, for which we’ve earmarked $3 million to develop a plan for this in session with the group and stakeholders.”