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Monday, 21 May 2012
Page: 4737

Dr SOUTHCOTT (Boothby) (13:51): I would like to raise a very serious issue about mental health in my home state of South Australia. We would all have heard the grand statements about national health reform that were made by the previous Prime Minister in 2010 and by the current Prime Minister in 2011. Specifically, the federal government promised to fund 179 subacute beds and places in South Australia and 159 of these were to be funded in the area of mental health. But it seems what is happening at the same time is that the South Australian government are pursuing their long-term agenda of closing 50 acute mental health beds. They have closed 10 mental health beds at Flinders Medical Centre, they have closed eight acute mental health beds at Glenside and they have also closed acute mental health beds at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The Commonwealth-state agreement is very specific: these are meant to be new, extra, additional beds. The state governments are meant to maintain the availability of acute beds. They are not meant to close acute beds. The state governments are meant to maintain their effort in this area. Mental health is a serious issue and it is very disappointing that, in a pea and thimble trick, the South Australian state government are using the cover of these new subacute beds to reduce their own responsibilities.