Glenside Hospital Redevelopment

16 Oct 2007 questionsarchive

I seek leave to make an explanation before asking the Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse a question about the Glenside redevelopment.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: The Liberal opposition has been contacted by a constituent who received a letter on 20 September from the Chief Executive of CNARs in relation to aged care at Glenside. It states that, currently, there are new aged care acute facilities under development, and it refers to transitioning of aged care services to the 'wider aged care sector'. In the cabinet cover sheet that accompanied the Cappo report in February, one of the risks noted was 'commonwealth negotiations re aged care bed funding'. I am also in receipt of an email, dated 10 October, from the commonwealth Department of Health, which states:

Of the 120 beds mentioned in the report, 55 are commonwealth aged care funded beds. These are currently located at the Makk & McLeay Nursing Home which is part of the Lyell McEwin Health Service in Hillcrest. The rest of the beds are state funded. I have spoken with the Department in Adelaide and they say the state's position—

that is, the South Australian government— regarding these licences and the residents is unclear. They believe the State wants to get out of the aged care provision and that the intent will be to transfer both the licences and the residents to other appropriate facilities but they have had no formal indication to that effect.

My questions are:

1. Are the facilities mooted in the letter to my constituents intended to be mainstream or psycho-geriatric?

2. Has the government failed to negotiate with the commonwealth regarding the licences?

3. What are the financial implications of the entire redevelopment plan if the commonwealth will not play ball on bed licences?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for Environment and Conservation, Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Minister Assisting the Minister for Health) (14:48): I thank the honourable member for her important question. Indeed, she should hang her head in shame in terms of the federal government's lack of responsibility in taking up—

Members interjecting:

The Hon. G.E. GAGO: It is interesting that they do not want to hear the answer. They are very embarrassed because here in South Australia we have one of the highest percentages of mental health aged care beds under the responsibility of the state government. We know that in other states it is a federal government responsibility to provide aged care residential facilities and appropriate care, and it has been badly neglected in this state. Those aged care residents have been cost shifted in and left to the responsibility of the state government—and of course we have come to the party. Part of our plan is to rectify that imbalance and to ensure that the federal government does in fact take adequate responsibility for caring for the elderly, and that includes the elderly who have mental illnesses.

So, in terms of the current plan, we have already transferred 30 mental aged acute care beds from Glenside to the new mental health unit at the Repatriation General Hospital and then Lyell McEwin and Queen Elizabeth hospitals, once these new modern facilities have been built, the aged acute services will no longer be delivered from the Glenside campus. Currently there are 23 aged acute beds at Glenside. I have to qualify that those other aged care beds are also planned to be provided at Lyell McEwin and Queen Elizabeth hospitals. Currently there are 23 aged acute care beds at Glenside, and I can confirm that the medical centre has been decommissioned in line with the transfer of those beds.

Currently, as part of our stepped model of mental health reform, it has been recognised that it is more appropriate that extended aged care patients be cared for in commonwealth accredited aged care facilities in the community. There are currently 48 extended aged care beds on the Glenside campus, and it is modern and appropriate practice to care for these patients in commonwealth accredited residential care facilities within the community, as occurs in other states. Some 24 of those beds will be transferred to a refurbished ward at Oakden, and the remaining patients will be transferred to aged care facilities close to their family or community. Mental health services will provide training and also regular support to those facilities. So, where specialist mental health care is needed, that will be provided.

The transition of our aged care patients will obviously involve extended consultation. As the honourable member has already identified, we are consulting very closely with those consumers and their families. They will be involved in the consideration of future care facilities and location of their loved ones, and that consultation has just begun. It is in the very early stages. We will continue to consult and continue to find the best model of care appropriate to meet the needs of these very important mental health consumers.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (14:53): As a supplementary question: can the minister confirm whether the state government has in fact had any dealings with the federal government to transfer these licences?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for Environment and Conservation, Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Minister Assisting the Minister for Health) (14:53): To the best of my knowledge, I understand that discussions have occurred with representatives of the federal government for some time now. It is an issue that is obviously of concern to us, and to the best of my knowledge these discussions have commenced.