June 23, 2022
The Western Region Alcohol and Drug Centre (WRAD) incorporating Handbury Medical Suites, has received funding from PHN Western Victoria to trial the evening service for 12 months from July 4.
WRAD operations manager Mark Powell said it was the first of its type in the Great South Coast region and would give people more options to access care.
“We have been concerned that not everyone can access services under the traditional business hours model,” Mr Powell said. “Over time we’ve had requests from people for appointments in the evening and are aware there is a group of people for which business hours appointments just aren’t suitable. We are excited to see what demand we are able to service through this trial.”
The service will be available on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 6-8.30pm and will provide a variety of AOD, mental health and GP services.
“We thank PHN Western Victoria for giving us this opportunity to assess what sort of demand there is,” Mr Powell said.
“It could potentially change the nature of how we deliver services. I’m not aware of anything similar in the Great South Coast region so it’s an exciting opportunity to enhance access to services and improve clinical outcomes and to help people who are struggling with health-related problems.”
At this stage, existing WRAD staff will cover the evening sessions and provide its regular suite of alcohol and other drug interventions but also offer single session services where a person may just want to talk about their current issues to work out their options. WRAD will also offer group work for individuals and for families and friends affected by substance use as well as general medical practice services.
The service is also available across the region. “We’re not restricting ourselves to an office-based model,” Mr Powell said. “We have developed skills using telehealth during COVID-19 so we can provide services to regional and rural areas.
“We’re quite excited about being able to expand the accessibility of our services to a wider group of people.”
Mr Powell said WRAD believed the service could ease pressure on emergency departments and other health related services. “I believe that if people can get access to services earlier this may offset more urgent emergency care later on. This trial is part of trying to create an accessible service for earlier intervention.”
He added that drug and alcohol related problems contribute significantly to acute hospital admissions and emergency department attendance. “Anything that can be done to reduce the harms of substance use and promote earlier intervention is a positive step.
“Community-based programs that offer accessible services may help to reduce this burden on already over stretched health resources,” he added.
For drug and alcohol issues, call Directline 1800 888236, or WRAD 55 645777
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WRAD HEALTH’s vision is to advance the health and wellbeing of those in the South Western Region of Victoria affected by Addictive behaviours and to promote optimal enjoyment of life.
WRAD HEALTH seeks to provide comprehensive, holistic support and treatment to individuals and others affected by addictive behaviors and associated issues.
The philosophy of harm minimisation underpins the delivery of all programs offered by WRAD HEALTH. This principle recognises that people in our society use both licit and illicit drugs, and that drugs can be used in ways that are more or less harmful to individuals, families and society. Harm minimisation offers a number of options designed to reduce the harm of drug use to the user and society.
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