ALMOST 40 mentally ill patients waited for more than eight hours at the Bendigo hospital emergency department from April to June.
The Victorian Health Services Performance revealed 39 patients waited longer than eight hours during the period, making Bendigo Health figures in the worst third of the state.
All in all, 748 patients waited for more than eight hours during the period across Victoria, a jump of 30 per cent, according to the Opposition.
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Mental Health Wade Noonan said the statewide results demonstrated that the mental health system was going backwards.
“These latest results demonstrate that gaining access to a specialist treatment bed is simply getting harder and harder for Victorians with serious mental illnesses”, he said.
“We know that one in three mentally ill patients are waiting more than eight hours in emergency departments before being admitted to a bed and the situation is getting worse.
“Leaving mentally ill patients languishing in emergency departments is simply not good enough."
A Bendigo Health spokesman acknowledged the figures.“Bendigo Health Psychiatric Services acknowledges that there have been greater demands on services in the recent past," he said.
“People who present for admission for mental health treatment may also have physical injuries and substance abuse related issues which need to be treated before they can be admitted for psychiatric care.
“In the course of receiving care for physical injuries they may need to be stabilised medically in the Emergency Department before being transferred to a ward which may take them beyond the target time for admission.”
“We work on a continuing basis to ensure that all patients who come into our care are treated appropriately and in a timely manner.”