A GROUP of patients from one of the state’s most secure mental health care units spent the day at Borenore Caves on Sunday as part of their rehabilitation.
The patients, escorted by specialist staff, were from the Bloomfield Campus’ Macquarie Forensic Unit.
The unit treats patients who have committed a criminal offence but have been found not guilty due to mental illness or were found unfit for trial under the mental health act.
Clinical director Nick Burns said patients who had been approved for leave by the Mental Health Review Tribunal regularly participated in these types of excursions or work placements in the district.
“This leave is encouraged and is part of the rehabilitation program offered by the forensic unit,” he said.
While on the day trip, one of the patients slipped on a rock and broke his leg.
The 38-year-old obese man was unable to be removed from the cave until emergency services arrived.
Paramedics, firefighters and police worked with Peter Wiggins of the special casualty access team to coordinate the rescue, which took more than an hour.
Due to the difficultly of the location, rescuers were forced to carry the patient for one kilometre on a special stretcher, a stokes litter, designed to help rescuers transport patients on foot when travelling a great distance.
The man was given pain relief at the scene before being transported to Orange hospital where he was in a stable condition yesterday afternoon.
As part of standard protocol for such rescues, a helicopter with additional special casualty access team paramedics and a doctor was also dispatched to the scene, however, it was not required.