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Not Too Late to Act on St Helen’s

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 14 June 2023

Tags: Mental Health, Health

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Mental Health spokesperson

It’s not too late for Premier Jeremy Rockliff to finally act and ensure all the crucial, life-saving services provided by the St Helen’s mental health facility will continue uninterrupted.

Ever since the private hospital operator, HealthScope, announced the closure of its St Helen’s mental health facility, we have heard patients, health staff, and unions sounding their alarm. They recognise the real risks posed by this closure – to the lives and welfare of current patients, and to the over-stretched Tasmanian health system.

There is nowhere else in Tasmania, for the foreseeable future, that can provide most of St Helen’s specialist life-saving services, or absorb the thousands of patients currently receiving treatment. 

In the face of widespread concern about the closure of this critically important facility, the Premier has done nothing effective to make sure the people currently receiving care at St Helen’s aren’t left isolated and without support.

Jeremy Rockliff’s heartless refusal to investigate how existing services could be continued through a change of ownership period has been shocking, and distressing.

The St Helen’s property is now listed for sale, but it’s not been sold. That means it’s not too late for Premier Rockliff to step in and do something about this terrible situation.

It’s no exaggeration to say the lives of many Tasmanians are at risk through the closure of St Helen’s. People receiving care there now have spoken of their fears about the impending impact for themselves and many others.

Jeremy Rockliff has been prepared to move heaven and earth to build an unnecessary stadium in Hobart, despite the enormous cost and community opposition. In contrast, he hasn’t lifted a finger to make sure the life-saving services provided by St Helen’s will continue.

On behalf of the thousands of Tasmanians who rely on St Helen’s, and the staff who have decades of irreplaceable expertise, the Greens plead with the Premier to leave no stone unturned in trying to prevent this life-saving mental health care facility from just disappearing overnight.

Note: The Greens’ fully-costed Alternative Budget 2023-24 included a $15 million provision to enter into a continuity of service agreement with the owners of St Helen’s.