Michael Ferguson,Minister for Health
Labor is either being ignorant or wilfully misleading around what they have been told previously both in Parliament and at Estimates.
Just last year in Budget Estimates, I explained in response to a question from Sarah Lovell that not all beds on the new wards being constructed for young Tasmanians would be dedicated for mental health.
“There is a commitment for all those beds, 16 as part of the new Royal redevelopment as well as eight at 4K. I like the way you asked the question, because they are not just mental health for adolescents; they are adolescent beds within the paediatric zone.”*
Furthermore, in Parliament just two weeks ago I said:
“I confirm and reiterate my assurance that there will be designated mental health beds on that ward as part of the dedicated mental health unit which is a safe and secure facility. However, not all 16 beds will be for mental health patients. The model of care and exact numbers are subject to current consultation with clinicians, and, as I have said, signed off by the Chief Psychiatrist to ensure that it is safe and provides the care that young Tasmanians need. I also reiterate that all 16 beds have operational funding in the Budget as I have previously stated.”
Our plan to open Tasmania’s first ever dedicated adolescent mental health units within the children’s wards at the RHH and LGH has not changed and was part of the policy we took to the election last year**.
The exact care model and bed numbers are currently being worked through by our expert clinicians.
Labor is being tricky with this issue – there are several examples of units within wards, for example, a stroke unit within a neurology ward.
The facts are they promised these facilities a decade ago but failed dismally, and then at the last election they refused to provide any funding in their health policy to even open the beds.
Labor needs to stop their politics on this issue and let the clinical professionals and experts determine the right models of care.
*From Tuesday, 26 June 2018: https://www.parliament.tas.gov.au/ParliamentSearch/isysquery/ded742a7-0d27-451b-9d79-5d83a8321d8f/46/doc/