Early signs point to positive impact of PACER program

The PACER Mental Health Facility in Gosford.

Early signs are that thenew PACER partnership between police and health services on the Central Coast is already having an impact since it was introduced just over a month ago.

The Police Ambulance and Clinical Early Response (PACER) program was rolled out to the Brisbane Water and Tuggerah Lakes Police Districts in June in an attempt to better manage mental health emergencies, with first responders and mental health patients already benefitting.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast and Member for Terrigal, Adam Crouch, said there had been extremely positive feedback since the scheme was introduced.

“Our police and health professionals share a passion for community service, safety and wellbeing – which is why this collaborative model is already proving to be such a success on the Central Coast,” Crouch said.

“Since PACER began operating Coast-wide, the team of police officers and health staff have formed a strong bond, and I anticipate this will only grow with more time. “This ground-breaking collaboration is helping people across the Central Coast get the urgent mental health support they need. “I am so proud our community is the first region in NSW to be benefitting.”

Mental Health Director for the Central Coast Local Health District (CCLHD), Anthony Critchley, said initial results suggest that overall emergency department (ED) presentations will go down. “I feel optimistic that PACER will lead to more people receiving the care they need in the safety and familiarity of their home,” Critchley said.

“Our ED staff are already seeing a reduction in presentations and length of stay, and a reduction in emergency service transports to hospital.” Commander of the Brisbane Water Police District, Superintendent Tony Joice, said his team was reporting less time spent on-scene.

“These two Districts have more mental health emergency transports than any other regional Police District in the State, so the pressure on our officers is enormous,” Joice said. “Thanks to the PACER mental health clinicians, they feel more confident managing these critical situations in a sensitive and timely manner.”

Central Coast PACER is part of a $6.1M investment by the NSW Government to embed 36 specialist mental health clinicians in 12 Police Area Commands across the wider Sydney basin.

Source: Media release, Aug 20 Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast, Adam Crouch