House of Assembly: Wednesday, April 10, 2024


Transition to Home Scheme

Mr TELFER (Flinders) (14:47): My question is to the Minister for Human Services. How many individuals have been supported into permanent out-of-hospital disability housing under the department's Transition to Home scheme since April 2022? With your leave, sir, and that of the house, I will explain.

Leave granted.

Mr TELFER: The previous Liberal government facilitated the transition of 134 patients out of long-term hospital care in April 2022 and into alternative temporary facilities, including at St Margaret's centre, Semaphore, and other facilities near Noarlunga Hospital as part of the Transition to Home scheme. The next step was designed to have them move into permanent out-of-hospital housing.

The Hon. N.F. COOK (Hurtle Vale—Minister for Human Services) (14:47): I thank the member for the question. In terms of accurate numbers, I am happy to get back to the member with the answer to that. Needless to say, when we came into government there were literally hundreds of people stuck in hospital and some of them had been in hospital for months and months and up to a year—even longer than a year, I understand, in some cases. Not only that, we know that the standard of governance and the clinical practice processes—

An honourable member interjecting:

The Hon. N.F. COOK: —you might learn something—around the care and support of these complex individuals in an environment designed for hospital care was completely substandard. There had been numerous complaints made by people within the Transition to Home pathway and their family members through the department and through other agencies, including the Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner. These were serious complaints. Some of them had been made public.

I won't speak about individual cases but some of them were quite sickening in terms of the descriptors about the failure of clinical practice processes that were in place under the previous government in a system that was established by their ministerial colleagues. Since coming in, we triggered a review of that. It was an independent review. The lead on that review was the highly respected Christine Dennis, who undertook the review of clinical practice and governance.

I put in place, with our department, people who would support that review and ensure that there were rigorous clinical practice processes that ensured the safety, dignity and care of those people within that environment. We proceeded to move the location of the southern section of Transition to Home down to Noarlunga, to an area that had been previously closed by the previous government and lay idle: a new, high-quality environment for support and care which we use to transition dozens of people out into the community.

We continue to see numbers flow through the Transition to Home program. These numbers are much, much lower than what they were. We have worked really hard with the federal government to drop, reduce and prevent barriers being put in place to discharge and to funding these people who require shorter term accommodation under the NDIS—those barriers that were in place under the previous state Liberal government and the federal Coalition government, under an NDIS that was constantly failing people who were complex and needing movement out of hospital.

The whole process to actually assess, respond to and put in place services for people who had higher needs and who were stuck languishing in hospital failed under the state Liberal government—

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order!

The Hon. N.F. COOK: —and the federal Coalition. Thankfully, we have worked across—

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Member for Schubert!

The Hon. N.F. COOK: —a newer system. We have seen a refresh and a renew of the federal NDIS in terms of the processes, and we see more to come.

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Member for Unley! Member for Schubert! Member for Chaffey!

The Hon. N.F. COOK: There are much fewer people now stuck in hospital longer term. The number is in the dozens rather than the hundreds, and we continue to ensure that those people are managed with dignity and using best practice clinical guidelines.