Legislative Council: Tuesday, November 29, 2022


Southern Intermediate Care Centre

The Hon. S.L. GAME (14:50): I seek leave to make a brief explanation prior to addressing a question to the Attorney-General, representing the Minister for Health and Wellbeing, on the closure of a southern suburbs mental health centre.

Leave granted.

The Hon. S.L. GAME: It has been reported that unions representing mental health workers are extremely concerned that a mental health centre, which was temporarily closed on 5 February this year, will permanently shut its doors. At the time, the then shadow health minister and local MP, Chris Picton, said that it was absolutely outrageous to close mental health beds amidst a mental health crisis.

The Southern Intermediate Care Centre in Noarlunga is described by SA Health's website as a centre that provides step-up and step-down care options and supports those living in the community who do not require acute mental health services. This sort of service is beneficial to prevent those people with less severe mental health issues from further deterioration or relapse and can avoid hospital admissions by dealing with issues before they become critical.

Given the plight of our state hospitals' inability to manage timely emergency presentations, the closure of this 15-bed centre will only further heighten the ramping and mental health crisis in South Australia, but particularly in our southern suburbs, which will no longer have any dedicated community health service of its kind. My questions to the minister are:

1. Does the minister believe that it is right to remove mental health beds from the health system at this time?

2. Does the minister think it is appropriate that the southern suburbs no longer have access to a community mental health care facility?

3. When will the minister make final determinations about the future of this and other temporarily closed health centres, such as the Strathalbyn emergency department?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:52): I thank the honourable member for her question and will refer those matters to the minister in another place and bring back a reply.