Media release: Cost-savings put before mental health support

Media release: Cost-savings put before mental health support Main Image

Federal Member for Gilmore reiterates calls for the Federal Government to increase mental health funding at Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital following revelations that the NSW Government has cut $252 million from NSW Heath in the 2019-20 financial year.

Earlier this month it was revealed that the sub-acute mental health unit at Shoalhaven Hospital will close for three weeks over the Christmas period.

Fiona Phillips MP has written to the federal and state Health Ministers asking them to abandon these plans and improve mental health services at the hospital.

While the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District has maintained the closure is due to a decrease in demand, new figures showing local health districts are being forced to find $150 million in cost savings has called into question the motivations behind the decision.

Mrs Phillips has expressed outrage that vital mental health services could be closed at a critical time of year in order to cut costs.

The Morrison Government has said it is committed to providing the best mental health care and support for all Australians, but is diverting responsibility for this closure to the NSW Government.

“We know that the holiday season can be a difficult time for people living with mental ill health,”

“I don’t want to see vital mental health services at Shoalhaven Hospital closed as a cost-savings measure,” Member for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips said.

During the election Labor committed $35 million in federal funding for an acute mental health facility at the hospital as part of its redevelopment.

“Shoalhaven Hospital needs more mental health services, not less. The government must urgently commit additional funding for mental health services at the hospital,” she said.