No beds in South West for detox patients

No beds: Doors Wide Open founders Lina Pugh and Julie Kent. Photo: Emily Sharp.
No beds: Doors Wide Open founders Lina Pugh and Julie Kent. Photo: Emily Sharp.

The founders of an organisation, which supports people with drug addictions and their families have spoken of their frustration in a lack of beds for those needing to detox. 

Doors Wide Open co-founder Julie Kent said something needed to be done around detox because currently there was nothing. 

“Any b-grade hospital so Collie, Donnybrook, Harvey – all of those places are supposed to be able to take detox patients,” she said. 

“The physical detox off meth is only about a week and there is nowhere for them to go at the moment.

“If we wanted to get someone into detox they would have to go to Perth, there is nothing local but it is actually quite doable.” 

Ms Kent said to have someone admitted for detox a doctor needed to refer the person to the hospital as an in-patient and then they would be allowed to go in for a week and detox but this wasn’t currently happening. 

"So at the moment that service isn’t being utilised,” she said.

“At the moment if someone wants to detox there is two facilities altogether in the metro area, nothing in the South West.”

“There is no detox beds in the South West at all and that’s what we need to see.

“Actual beds opened up so when somebody wants recovery we’re able to do something quicker than eight to 12 weeks.”

A WA Country Health Service spokeswoman said withdrawal and detox patients were assessed and admitted to South West hospitals on a case by case basis. 

“All withdrawal/detox patients who present to WA Country Health Service hospitals in the region are referred to a drug and alcohol specialist or, where appropriate, the relevant drug and alcohol service,” she said. 

Ms Kent said a higher level of consistency was needed in service delivery. 

“I make a thousand useless phone calls everyday for services that don’t exist,” she said. 

“That’s quite often my role here – is to ring all of these different rehab facilities, different places and at the end of the day I’ll still come up with nothing. 

“We’ve had three clients that waited 12 weeks and that’s ringing every day, going to assessments, turning up to listen to information days.

“I don’t know about you but I’d give up before 12 weeks.”