Youth health ser­vices evicted

The West Australian - - NEWS - Cathy O'Leary Med­i­cal Edi­tor

WA’s child and ado­les­cent com­mu­nity health ser­vices are strug­gling to find premises, af­ter be­ing evicted from sev­eral sites and fac­ing more up­heaval.

The an­nual re­port of the Child and Ado­les­cent Health Ser­vice, which over­sees Princess Mar­garet Hospi­tal, has warned that its com­mu­nity-based ser­vices face be­ing left stranded be­cause of pres­sure to free up govern­men­towned fa­cil­i­ties.

The re­port claims that many of its com­mu­nity health fa­cil­i­ties are poorly lo­cated, not fit for pur­pose and do not com­ply with build­ing stan­dards.

It comes two months af­ter se­nior staff at a State Govern­ment-run child and ado­les­cent men­tal health ser­vice in Mid­land warned it was in cri­sis, cit­ing a lack of re­sources to deal with high-risk clients.

In a leaked email at the time, staff said the Swan Com­mu­nity Child and Ado­les­cent Men­tal Health Ser­vice had oc­cu­pa­tional safety and health is­sues since it moved to new premises, and had the po­ten­tial for in­dus­trial ac­ci­dents in­volv­ing staff and clients.

The CAHS an­nual re­port echoed those con­cerns, warn­ing that com­mu­nity-based ser­vices faced a con­stant threat of in­se­cure ten­ure, with mount­ing pres­sure to va­cate some govern­ment fa­cil­i­ties that pre­vi­ously had been pro­vided free.

“In the last five years, Child and Ado­les­cent Com­mu­nity Health has been evicted from five sites and is va­cat­ing an­other three sites in 2017-18,” the re­port says.

“There is no fund­ing for al­ter­na­tive premises and in ad­di­tion there is an ex­pec­ta­tion of some lo­cal gov­ern­ments to achieve com­mer­cial or near com­mer­cial rents for fa­cil­i­ties which CACH leases.

“This rep­re­sents a fur­ther fund­ing chal­lenge for CACH and im­pacts the sus­tain­abil­ity of the ser­vice.”

The chil­dren’s health ser­vice said it was work­ing on a sub­mis­sion to Trea­sury seek­ing fund­ing for its in­fra­struc­ture needs.

The an­nual re­port also con­firmed con­tin­u­ing costs be­cause of the de­lay to the open­ing of Perth Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal.

Age­ing in­fra­struc­ture at PMH had needed ur­gent mi­nor works and main­te­nance to en­sure ser­vices could con­tinue to op­er­ate safely.

The men­tal health in­pa­tient unit at Bent­ley Ado­les­cent Unit had con­tin­ued to op­er­ate for far longer than in­tended.

“In the ab­sence of a con­firmed open­ing date for PCH, cap­i­tal works were un­der­taken to re­open seven in­pa­tients beds in March 2017,” the re­port said.

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