Greens call for Government to come clean over Graylands future
30 December 2012
The Greens have today called for the Barnett/Grylls Government to come clean over what is planned for the future of Graylands Hospital and the site on which it sits.
The call comes after a week of damaging revelations surrounding the Hospital after a man was incorrectly detained and given psychotropic drugs at the Hospital.
“For the last couple of years I have been calling on the Minister for Mental Health, Helen Morton, to be clear about the Government’s future plans for Graylands Hospital to no avail, said Greens spokesperson for Mental Health Alison Xamon.
“There has been much speculation within the mental health sector that the reason that long overdue investment in Graylands Hospital has not been forthcoming is because there are plans to ultimately close down or scale down the site and sell off much of the land.
“If this is not the case then the Minister should put to rest this speculation as soon as possible. What is certainly known is that the land that Graylands is currently sitting on is valuable land and that any retention of the Graylands Hospital will necessitate a large scale financial investment to bring it up to scratch as a therapeutic environment.
“Some of the buildings are extremely old and come from a time when people with mental illness were locked away rather than given help and treatment. We also know that the number of beds available has neither kept up with population growth nor the severity of many of the cases we are now seeing, particularly as a result of increased amphetamine use. Subsequently Graylands Hospital has struggled to offer world class care with an increasingly demoralised and understaffed workforce.
“This is not to say that there aren’t committed and professional staff, but that they are being expected to operate in sub-standard conditions.
“On the other hand, if it is indeed the intention of this Government to close down Graylands then they need to come clean on that. They then need to be up-front about where they expect any new sites to be located, and importantly where any new forensic mental health facilities will be placed.
“What we know is that forensic mental health facilities are needed, but as we saw with the proposed Disability Justice Centres there can often be significant difficulties in convincing local residents that such facilities are safe to be located near homes. At least with Graylands as a long standing facility no local residents can object to its presence, having bought into the area with the knowledge of its existence.
“I appreciate that the Government has started work to increase the number of step up/step down facilities around the metropolitan area, but these are no substitute for a large scale Hospital such as Graylands.
“In the meantime what we know is that if Graylands is to continue as a Hospital then an urgent and significant increase in capital funds is desperately needed. I once again call on the Minister for Mental Health to let the community what the plans for the future of Graylands Hospital are,” Ms Xamon concluded.
For further comment please contact Alison
Hon Alison Xamon MLC
Member for the East Metropolitan Region
Office: 62 Eighth Ave Maylands WA 6051
Postal Address: PO Box 104 Maylands WA 6931
Phone: (08) 9272 1718
Fax: (08) 9272 1719
Portfolios: Water, Urban Bushland, Mental Health, Education, Training, Industrial Relations, Employment, Occupational Health & Safety, Disabilities, Women, Children & Youth, Public Service, Community Services, Electoral Affairs, Consumer Protection, Vet Affairs, Volunteering