Older Persons Mental Health Patient Care is Vital - Not Budget

15 January 2016

The Public Service Association (PSA) attended a meeting on Tuesday 12 January 2016 in relation to the reduction of bed stock within Older Persons Mental Health Services. The proposal is to reduce 4 of the 20 beds in Ward South East (Ward SE) situated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. (Governance for Central Older Persons Mental Health Services is at this stage still under the Northern Adelaide Local Health Network although the PSA is aware of discussions occurring with Central Adelaide Local Health Network).

The PSA was advised the proposal to keep the 4 beds closed that were flexed down over the Christmas and New Year period. These 4 beds will be kept as flex beds and only opening if the need arises. While an Escalation Plan was discussed verbally, the PSA, ANMF and SASMOA have requested this process in writing.

The PSA is very concerned that this is a budget driven exercise at the expense of keeping mental Health bed stock open. It seems currently the Ward SE operates as a 20 bed unit, consisting of an open unit and a HDU,and 4 of these beds are classified as swing beds which provide flexibility to increase either open or HDU beds. Apparently 4 of the 20 beds are not appropriately funded.

This change will put further pressure on the Older Persons Mental Health Community Teams as additional resources that were supposed to be a staged approach with the devolution of closing the Older Persons Wards on Glenside Campus was never completed.

PSA members are encouraged to consider the discussion paper (here) which is now out for consultation and make their views known to the PSA to enable genuine and meaningful consultation.

PSA members should forward any issues or concerns that they would like raised on their behalf to PSA by Thursday 14 February 2016.