Warrnambool Base Hospital will receive a $500,000 boost to help its emergency department better respond to patients affected by alcohol and drugs, such as ice, Premier and Member for South West Coast Dr Denis Napthine has announced.

“Drug and alcohol-affected patients can be challenging for emergency departments, in particular patients who are under the influence of new and emerging drugs such as ‘ice’,” Dr Napthine said.

“This funding will ensure the hospital has the resources it needs to deal with these challenges.”

Dr Napthine said the local emergency department would now decide which new resources will best suit the needs of the local Warrnambool community, which could include hiring a new specialised alcohol and drug specialist or additional training for existing staff.

The initiative builds on the successful initiative announced in the 2012-13 Budget that provided 21 health services, including six regional health services, with additional resources to respond to alcohol and drug-affected patients.

The funding will also complement new laws introduced into Parliament this year that will better protect doctors, nurses and emergency personnel.