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Innovative mental health trial extended

Thursday, 03 October 2019

The State Government has given a six-month extension to an innovative trial that partners Ambulance Victoria staff with Barwon Health mental health workers.

Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley made the announcement in Geelong yesterday, highlighting the improved outcomes for people in the community with acute mental health issues.

The PROMPT (Prehospital Response of Mental Health and Paramedic Team) trial pairs specialist mental health staff with paramedics attending call-outs where mental health may be a factor.

Minister Foley said the trial had been a remarkable success, with patients being assessed and triaged sooner, and fewer taken to busy emergency departments.

“Around 75 per cent of the PROMPT team callouts have been successful in diverting patients from the Emergency Department,” he said.

“Every indication is that this is a successful model. It ticks all the boxes about early intervention and delivery of primary support close to people’s normal circumstances.

“With the direction we’re heading, PROMPT is ahead of the curve, taking the emphasis of delivering clinical and sub-acute care from an institutional setting into a community setting.”

Mental Health, Drugs and Alcohol Services clinical director Steve Moylan said the program was an opportunity to push Barwon Health services into the community and build relationships with consumers.

“Some patients went directly to our inpatient psychiatric unit, while some were able to receive care in their home, instead of going through the potentially traumatic experience of being taken to a busy emergency department,” Associate Prof Moylan said.

“This program has allowed our service to provide better and more appropriate care, while establishing relationships with the patients that help us understand their specific needs.”

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