Michelle Lensink

Gago takes hack saw to mental health

Glenside Hospital’s Eastwood Community Transition Unit is in danger of being closed, just over six months after the Rann Government shut down the Cedars and North Glen wards.

Shadow Mental Health Minister Michelle Lensink said the Eastwood CTU ward was the final port of call for mental health patients making the transition back into the community and that its closure would be disastrous.

“I am concerned that if the Eastwood CTU is shut, mental health patients will be sent back out to live in the community well before they are ready. To force those who are not fully rehabilitated to fend for themselves is completely irresponsible,” Ms Lensink said.

“Without adequate services, support and transitional programs those living with a mental illness could find their condition escalate out of control, creating more problems.

“Hasn’t this government learnt from coronial inquiry after coronial inquiry that those living with a mental illness need to be rehabilitated?

“This government does nothing more than pay lip service to mental health issues. Commissioning Monsignor David Cappo to write a report about mental health was the Rann Government’s excuse to make an announcement about improved mental health services and then do nothing!

“Until Mental Health Minister Gail Gago rules out the closure of the Eastwood CTU ward, mental health patients who rely on Glenside will be at risk of being left with no support.”

Member for Bragg Vickie Chapman said at the rate the Rann Government was going Glenside would be the only hospital in the state that didn’t have any patients in it.

“The Rann Government continues to treat Glenside like a ‘cash cow’, closing wards and throwing patients out into the community so that it can sell off prime Glenside land,” Ms Chapman said.

“Time and again this government has refused to rule out the Glenside sale. Health Minister Hill was asked on February 20, 2007 to confirm if any parts of Glenside Hospital would be sold, to which he said that he would get an answer from Minister Gago. Three months have passed and we are still waiting for an answer!

“Glenside Hospital should be an integral part of South Australia’s mental health service. Yet under the Rann Government’s mismanagement it will be reduced to nothing more than an administration facility which houses drug and alcohol services.”

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