Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Mental Health spokesperson
The critically important St Helen’s mental health facility will close its doors tomorrow, but Minister for Health, Jeremy Rockliff, hasn’t lifted a finger to keep it open or even tried to ensure all its life-saving services will continue uninterrupted.
Since the private hospital operator Healthscope announced it was moving to close St Helen’s it has been obvious it would be a devastating blow to irreplaceable specialised mental health care for all who rely on it. The Greens have strongly supported the repeated calls from patients, staff and unions for the Government to intervene and stop these crucial services disappearing overnight.
There’s no doubt the closure of St Helen’s will put lives at risk, and add significant strain to Tasmania’s already overburdened health system. The Premier has ignored these impacts, with Right to Information documents showing he didn’t even try to talk to Healthscope about what could be done.
There are thousands of patients who have been relying on St Helen’s, some for more than a decade, and now all services will abruptly be cut. Patients have said they feel like they’ve been kicked out of a plane without a parachute.
This devastating situation should be the highest priority for a Health Minister, but it seems Jeremy Rockliff is too distracted by his year-long effort to build a billion-dollar stadium in Hobart to do anything that really matters.