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Specialist meth nurses for Western Australian hospitals

AAP logoAAP 27/11/2016 Rebecca Gredley

Emergency departments in Western Australia will have additional specialist nurses to help with drug-affected patients, as the state government continues its fight against methamphetamine use.

Mental Health Minister Andrea Mitchell said an extra six nurses would be employed from January 2017.

"The specialist nurses will provide screening, assessment and intervention, as well as support to other hospital staff responding to complex meth-related cases," she said.

Health Minister John Day said the drug was having an enormous impact in not only the justice system, but also the health system and emergency departments, with multiple meth-affected patients presenting at hospitals daily.

"They are people that are pretty much out of control and it is a substantial problem," he said.

"Having additional specialised nurses who can assist in these cases is a very welcome thing, but all of the major emergency departments now need to have security staff to deal with this terrible problem."

The nurses will be at Rockingham, Armadale-Kelmscott, Midland, Royal Perth and Bunbury hospitals, as well as Joondalup and Peel health campuses.

Labor health spokesman Roger Cook welcomed the announcement but said there should also be measures to protect doctors and nurses on the front line.

According to 2013 statistics, 3.8 per cent of the WA population aged over 14 has used the drug, while the national average is 2.1 per cent.

Tests on wastewater earlier this year showed WA residents use about two tonnes of methamphetamine each year.

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