Shellharbour Hospital mental health briefing

MEDIA RELEASE


Member for Shellharbour Anna Watson has called for the immediate re-instatement of three observation beds at Shellharbour Hospital’s Eloura West mental health unit.

Ms Watson’s call follows a briefing yesterday by the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District after community concerns were raised over the adequacy of mental health services, and patient and staff safety at Shellharbour Hospital’s mental health facility.

“There are nine observation beds covering the whole Illawarra region, but after the alleged murder at Shellharbour Hospital’s Eloura West on 31 July, three of those beds are not currently available.

“I’m calling on the Minister for Mental Health to immediately instruct the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District to re-instate those three beds as a matter of urgency”, she said.

Ms Watson has also called for the provision of new inpatient mental health beds to be provided in the Shoalhaven region.

“There is a growing demand for mental health services across the Illawarra region.

“It’s illogical and unacceptable for there not to be inpatient mental health services available to people in the Shoalhaven region.

“I am more than happy to work with my southern Parliamentary colleagues, Gareth Ward MP and Shelley Hancock MP, to lobby their Government to fund inpatient mental health beds in the Shoalhaven region.

“Mental health services are beyond politics and I have offered both of them my bipartisan support”, she said.

Ms Watson said that she would discuss the issues raised at the briefing with the Health Services Union (HSU) after Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District officials conceded there had not been consultations with HSU members since the alleged murder incident on 31 July.

“I want to be absolutely satisfied that patient and staff safety at Shellharbour Hospital’s mental health unit is a paramount priority.

“I want to be satisfied that the HSU is involved in any discussions about staff safety and that staff concerns are addressed immediately”, she said.

Ms Watson said that she appreciated that the Minister for Mental Health had helped facilitate the briefing following her request.

“I’m looking forward to working closely with the Minister to address the need to ensure key mental health services are provided to our local community and that patients and staff have ever possible assurance of safety”, she said.

24 September 2014

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