An extra 20 acute mental health beds would be built and 55 specialists staff put on at Calvary Public Hospital if the Canberra Liberals win next month’s ACT election.
A Coe government would also extend and grow the government’s PACER program, which sees a team comprising a paramedic, police officer and mental health clinical dispatched to mental health incidents.
The party’s health spokeswoman Vicki Dunne said the additional beds would cost between $10 million and $20 million, depending on whether existing space could be refurbished or a new facility had to be constructed at the Bruce hospital.
The extra staff would cost about $20 million, she said.
“The ACT has the worst performance in terms of people who access acute mental health services feeling better when they leave,” Mrs Dunne said.
“They are more likely to feel worse when they leave. And that’s partly because there aren’t enough beds. What we are trying to do is ensure that people who present and need acute mental health treatment actually end up better.”
Mrs Dunne, who remains a part of the Liberals’ campaign despite the fact that she’s not contesting the election, said a Liberal government would also consider extending the adult mental health unit at Canberra Hospital. Construction of a planned rehabilitation centre for patients with an eating disorder could also be fast-tracked, she said.
Opposition emergency services spokeswoman Giulia Jones also announced on Monday that a Liberal government would expand the PACER program, continuing the service for at least 12 more months and creating a second team to respond to incidents.