Media release: Minister must intervene to keep mental health service open

Media release: Minister must intervene to keep mental health service open Main Image

To mark Mental Health Month, the Federal Member for Gilmore is asking the Federal Health Minister to improve mental health services at Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital and protect the sub-acute mental health unit from closing down over the Christmas period.

Last week it was revealed that the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District plans to close the unit for three weeks, with patients to be diverted to Shellharbour Hospital.

While Christmas can be a time of celebration, family and joy for some, many people experience family conflict, loneliness, anxiety and depression at this time of year.

Shoalhaven Hospital already has the second worst emergency room delays in NSW and the Gilmore MP says that a lack of acute mental health services is compounding on wait times and bed block.

“I am shocked at the decision to close the sub-acute mental health unit at Shoalhaven Hospital for three weeks at a time when we know people can struggle with mental health the most,” Fiona Phillips, Member for Gilmore said.

“I have asked the Federal and state Health Ministers to ensure this unit is kept open so it can continue to support those in need in our community,”

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

It is essential that hospital infrastructure targeting mental health services is strengthened at Shoalhaven Hospital and Mrs Phillips has asked the Federal Government to work with the NSW Government to improve local mental health services.

“During Mental Health Month, I ask the Ministers to act to improve mental health facilities at Shoalhaven Hospital,” Fiona Phillips said.