WA invests $1.9 billion to boost regional and mental health services
The WA Government is investing a massive $1.9 billion towards health and mental health services as part of WA’s upcoming 2021-22 State Budget.
The $1.9 billion investment will be distributed throughout Western Australia and will financially provide for a range of important initiatives in the state’s regional areas.
“The $1.9 billion boost to health and mental health services will ensure all Western Australians can access improved healthcare, wherever they live,” Premier Mark McGowan said.
“Regional WA’s health services are experiencing considerable pressure in line with the significant demand we are seeing – and the additional resources provided in the State Budget will work to improve services for everyone.”
Health Minister Roger Cook stated that the WA Government’s strong financial management over the past years has allowed them to announce a $1.9 billion increase in spending in the state’s health system.
Under the new investment, $960 million will be used to help address the unprecedented demand within the health system by providing 332 extra beds, more frontline staff and improved services at the regional hospitals.
Aside from boosting the capacity of regional health services, a number of additional regional-specific initiatives are also to be delivered. This includes the commitments the WA Government made at the 2021 election.
“Country WA will also benefit from a number of regional-specific initiatives and projects – including the boost to the PATS scheme, new hospitals and a range of measures to improve health outcomes throughout the State,” Premier McGowan said.
The WA Government has also invested $19.7 million to expand the eligibility of the Patient Assisted Travel Scheme. This Scheme will help provide patient support escorts for patients from vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, as well as maternity patients.
$15.7 million will also be used for the construction of a new and consolidated health service at the existing Meekatharra Hospital site, providing acute care, emergency services, mental health, community aged care and other primary care services.
Other key health initiatives that have been announced by the WA Government include the following:
- $10.9 million towards the Royal Flying Doctor Service to upgrade aircraft engines;
- $1.8 million to employ a permanent GP who will conduct cervical cancer screening and other women’s primary health services at the Goldfields Women’s Health Care Centre;
- $2.2 million to establish a Women’s Community Health Service in the Peel region;
- $4.4 million to the WA Country Health Service, following the transition to the Commonwealth Home Support Program from the Home and Community Care program;
- $4.2 million to fund the operating costs of the adult public dental clinic at Narrogin Regional Hospital;
- $2.8 million to expand Women’s Community Health Services in the Kimberley;
- $2 million for the WA Country Health Service (WACHS) to continue Regional Renal Support Teams;
- $2 million to undertake detailed planning and scoping of works for Stage Two of the redevelopment of the Geraldton Health Campus (GHC);
- $785,000 for a 12-month Women and Newborn Health Service pilot program to provide health and support services and information to women experiencing mental illness, domestic and sexual violence or who have experienced sexual assault or childhood sexual abuse.
Mental Health Minister Stephen Dawson said that, aside from boosting regional health services, the WA Government is also committed to responding to the mental health needs of all Western Australians.
“This includes improving supports and services in the regions for people experiencing mental ill-health or alcohol and other drug issues, as well as their families, carers and support people,” Minister Dawson said.
“The new mental health services funded in the budget will make modern, integrated care more accessible to people living in regional communities across the State.”
The mental health services in regional WA that will also be boosted within this budget include the following:
- $17.6 million towards social and emotional wellbeing services for Aboriginal people in regional WA;
- $14.8 million for a South Hedland Step Up-Step Down facility to provide a community mental health service and short-term residential support;
- $8.6 million to fund regional Methamphetamine Action Plan initiatives, including expanding Community Alcohol and Other Drug services in the Peel region;
- $9.2 million to extend the Strong Spirit Strong Mind public education program;
- $1.7 million for Active Recovery Teams in the Wheatbelt and Mid-West, supporting people in their recovery journey to stay well in the community following a hospital stay;
- $1.7 million to progress anti‑ligature works at regional Acute Psychiatric Units (APUs), located in Broome, Albany, Kalgoorlie and Bunbury;
- Extending the Mental Health/Police co-response program into regional areas.
WA’s regional communities will also benefit from the $31.7 million investment on expanding eating disorder treatment programs state-wide.
“Our comprehensive health and mental health package for regional WA will ensure all Western Australians, no matter where you live, will have access to quality healthcare,” Minister Cook said.
“The new investments in this Budget build on a significant program of expansions for health and mental health in regional Western Australia.”
The WA Government continues to deliver significant new investments in regional health infrastructure. This includes the expansions and redevelopments at Bunbury Regional Hospital, Peel Health Campus, Geraldton Health Campus, Laverton Hospital, Tom Price Hospital, Newman Health Service and more.
SOURCE: GOVERNMENT OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA MEDIA RELEASE