THE dental clinic will stay at its Swan District Hospital location but no other health services will continue to operate from the 10ha site, which the Health Minister says may be sold to pay down state debt.
Last week Midland MLA Michelle Roberts quizzed Health Minister Kim Hames in Parliament about the government’s plans for the site.
Dr Hames said all the health services would be moved off the site and the land was being handed over to the Minister for Lands to manage.
Mrs Roberts asked the minister what assurance he could give that the former hospital site would not just be sold off to pay for government debt?
Dr Hames said he could not give any assurances.
“We are spending $180 million of state government money to build a brand new hospital so it is logical that we sell those old sites to reduce government debt.”
Dr Hames said the new hospital was a massive asset.
“We have a brand-new $360m asset and the old asset is no longer required but regarding selling the location to pay down state debt that is exactly what is done,” he said.
“The Opposition badgers on about the level of state debt and that we need to do something about it, but as soon as we try to sell an asset that we do not need anymore to pay down that debt, the opposition wants us to keep it.”
Mrs Roberts said a decision to sell off the site was short sighted because it was perfectly zoned to house drug rehabilitation or mental health services.
“There is such a crying demand for mental health and drug rehabilitation facilities I find it hard to believe they haven’t contemplated reusing it for public purposes.
“Or if we want to see aged care on part of the site it should be sold for that purpose.”
Mental Health Minister Helen Morton confirmed on Tuesday the purpose-built mental health facility would be vacated and there would be no mental health services operating from the site after 2015.
She said mental health services would move into the new Midland Health Campus and the range of services would expand.
Mrs Morton said the community-based mental health services were moving from the Swan District Hospital site to be a streetfront-type service.
A spokesperson from the North Metropolitan Health Service said there was currently no drug rehabilitation service or elderly accommodation provided at or by Swan District Hospital.
The spokesperson said patients in the mental health and older adult units at Swan District Hospital would be transferred to the new hospital on November 24.
“In addition, the new Midland Community Mental Health Centre located at 281 Great Eastern Highway, Midland, will open in early November to accommodate the adult and older adult community services.”
The spokesperson said the dental clinic would stay where it was and continue to provide dental services to approximately 24,000 eligible patients in the Swan area, who had valid concession cards.
A City of Swan Community Care Services Advisory Committee said research showed more than 1000 new aged care places would be needed in the City of Swan alone by 2036.
Planning Minister John Day told Echo News earlier this month that he was supportive of the redevelopment of the hospital site being considered as an aged care facility.
But the Minister for Lands did not respond to queries by Echo News asking if future plans included aged care accommodation.