Youth health services evicted
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.