James Nash House

03 Jul 2008 questionsarchive

I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse a question about James Nash House.

The Hon. D.W. Ridgway interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Leave will be granted when the Hon. Mr Ridgway comes to order.

Leave granted.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I have received via email a bulletin entitled `Joint Union-outcomes/resolutions ANF/PSA/SASMOA' from the Australian Nursing Federation dated 19 June. I will quote from the bulletin as follows—

The Hon. S.G. Wade interjecting:

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Absolutely not. The email states as follows: ANF members met with colleagues at a joint...meeting on 12 June to discuss mounting concerns about the relocation of Forensic Services from a metropolitan location to Mobilong. After extensive discussion members directed ANF to seek consultation with SA government and to commence a campaign about the relocation of Forensic Services. The following resolutions were passed. The unions are now writing to the SA government on this matter and will be scheduling a further meeting in early July 08 to provide feedback and seek further direction from our members. The resolutions are as follows:

1. This meeting condemns the Department of Health for its failure to enter into meaningful discussion and maintaining with staff over the planning for future services. This meeting demands that the South Australian government evaluate the plans for the moving of Forensic Services to Murray Bridge. This meeting seeks the immediate establishment of a genuine consultative process for meaningful dialogue, that includes discussion about the impact of transfer of services on clients, their families and staff of Forensic Services. Should this dialogue not be commenced by 30 June 08 then this meeting directs the unions to schedule further meetings of all members to take further direction in these matters.

2. Members direct their respective unions to commence and support a public campaign to support the maintenance of Forensic Services in a suitable metropolitan location. My questions to the minister are: has she met with her old union? If not, will she meet with it, and will she undertake to keep an open mind on the issue of the relocation of Forensic Mental Health Services?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for Environment and Conservation, Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Minister Assisting the Minister for Health) (14:36): I am very pleased to have the opportunity to respond to this question. Indeed, it is not my old union; I am very proud to say that I am a lifelong honorary member of the Australian Nursing Federation. I have been deemed the privilege from the organisation to be a lifelong honorary member, which is something I am extremely proud of. I meet regularly with a wide range of key stakeholders involved in the reform of our mental health system. This government is committed to a total reform of our mental health services, starting with our Forensic Mental Health Services right through to our psychosocial packages provided through the NGO sector—every step of the way. I am happy to go through each of those steps if people are unsure; however, I will move on, although I am tempted.

The Hon. Carmel Zollo: Go on.

The Hon. G.E. GAGO: I might come back to that. Indeed, I meet regularly with all key stakeholders, including the Australian Nursing Federation. The issue of the relocation of the Forensic Mental Health Services has been one matter on our agenda. I have received the same letter that the member has read out but, prior to that, I was aware that unions, and other people, had some concerns about the plans to relocate James Nash House and the Forensic Mental Health Services.

Nevertheless, I have already requested that a response be given to that letter, and I have requested that we explore the establishment of appropriate consultative processes. As always, I am committed to extensive consultation. As I have said, I already meet regularly with the ANF and other key stakeholders, so the consultation has already commenced; but I am happy to extend that.

The government has made a plan. In fact, we have made a decision to build a new $39.8 million 40-bed secure forensic mental health centre at Mobilong. That decision has already been made. The new facility will be built to a national benchmark standard and will be based on a campus design with a secure perimeter. The new facility will replace the outdated forensic facilities currently operating at James Nash House and Grove Closed on the Glenside campus (30 beds and 10 beds respectively). James Nash House was the first forensic service in Australia to provide forensic mental health treatment in a dedicated facility. It is widely known as a centre of excellence, and also, I should say, for the commitment of staff to providing quality care and support for people with mental illness.

They are often some of our most challenging clients in the system. However, James Nash House having been built as a correctional-style custodial model of care, is now out of date. The facilities at James Nash House and Grove Closed (South Australia's other forensic health service) are now ageing and are not conducive to modern treatment principles. The new 40-bed forensic mental health facility will enable optimal configuration of beds to ensure the best possible and most efficient use of those beds.

The proposed facility will be managed and operated as a mental health facility providing a recovery-oriented model of mental health care, rather than a correctional or custodial model. The new forensic mental health centre will provide a more efficient and integrated service than is currently possible with the services split across two sites. It will be developed adjacent to the new men's and women's prison planned for Mobilong, and be incorporated into the public-private partnership for the new prisons and the new secure youth training centre. The new forensic mental health centre will be separate from the new prisons and will operate quite separately as a health facility providing recovery-oriented mental health care. I am advised that the construction of the new forensic mental health centre will commence late in 2009, with projected completion in late 2011-ish.

An honourable member: Ish!

The Hon. G.E. GAGO: Well, the PPP is still being negotiated. Goodness gracious! Staff and community consultation will inform the development of the forensic mental health centre and consider any specific staff issues. We have already given a commitment to do that with staff. The new forensic mental health centre will be built and operated according to the Forensic Services Standards of the National Mental Health Strategy, as well as supporting South Australia's Strategic Plan. As I have said, I meet regularly, and we are committed to consultation but as a government we have given a clear election commitment to reform our mental health system, and that we will do. We have a responsibility to make those decisions, and we have indeed decided to build a new state-of-the-art forensic mental health facility out at Mobilong.