Blue Mountains News

$19.5 million Western Sydney Community Health and Wellbeing Package

Posted: 16 May 2019
Wentworth Healthcare CEO Lizz Reay with Minister Payne and Macquarie candidate Sarah Richards
The Coalition Government will deliver a $19.5 million Community Health and Wellbeing Package for Western Sydney, providing an important investment in mental health and drug rehabilitation services for the community.

Liberal candidate for Lindsay Melissa McIntosh said the Package includes $14m for the establishment of a walk-in adult community mental health centre in Penrith.

“Mental health issues don’t discriminate, anyone, anywhere can be affected so there needs to be flexibility around how people in our community access support services,” Ms McIntosh said.

“So many of us get caught up with long commutes to work, dealing with our families and trying to balance our jobs that it can be hard to take time out to get some help.

“The walk-in centre will operate over extended hours and offer coordinated care and advice right on our doorstep. It will also take pressure off the hospital emergency department and provide a much better and appropriate service for people who need help."

Senator for Western Sydney Marise Payne, said the centre would have referral pathways across Western Sydney which would help provide greater access to vital health services. “During times of acute need, navigating the extensive range of mental health services can be challenging.

“The Centre will be connected to networks of GPs, local Primary Health Network (PHN) services and state-operated services around Western Sydney which will ensure a consolidated regional approach to the treatment of mental health and other related issues.”

The Western Sydney Community Health and Wellbeing Package also includes $5.5m in funding for a new program that will deliver comprehensive, rapid access to community-based drug and alcohol treatment across the Nepean, Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury Regions.

Liberal candidate for Macquarie Sarah Richards said the Nepean Blue Mountains PHN will deliver the program and oversee the establishment of two regional community-based rehabilitation hubs in Penrith and the Hawkesbury which would have outreach to the Blue Mountains and Lithgow.

“Substance abuse is a pressing issue for the individuals, families and communities which have to deal with its impact,” Ms Richards said.

“This program will bring together local schools, community groups, GPs, the justice system and other stakeholders so that end-to-end recovery and intervention can take place at a grassroots level.”

Melissa McIntosh said the program will provide evidence-based interventions that give people the best shot at sustained recovery.

“There is no ‘one size fits all approach’ to the detection and treatment of substance abuse,” Ms McIntosh said. “Having this program integrated with other services will mean treatment can come in many forms, be it clinical, educational, financial or otherwise."

Lizz Reay, CEO of Wentworth Healthcare said, “We are absolutely thrilled by the announcement of this $19.5 million package to support the health and well-being of the people in Western Sydney. We know that the right care in the right place at the right time is the cornerstone of a strong health system.”

"With these resources, these community-based services will support people with mental health and addiction issues within their own community where their friends, family and primary healthcare providers can all be part of their integrated care journey. This gives people the best chance of recovery and can also alleviate unnecessary hospital admissions,” she said.

“When it comes to supporting people with addiction, residential rehabilitation services are important but aren’t always suitable in every situation. For some, residential programs can even act as a barrier to seeking help. That is why community-based addiction support is so important. People with addiction need to be able to seek support and get well within their own community," she said.

Wentworth Healthcare’s GP Clinical Lead Integrated Care, Dr Michael Crampton said, “GPs in our region have identified the need for more integrated support services for their patients with addiction issues.”

“These patients often have complex needs with dual diagnosis of mental health issues in addition. GPs are best equipped to manage the continuum of care that is needed in partnership with community-based care services. Together they will help build capacity and effectively integrate patient care,’’ he said.

Lana Borg, Managing Director of Mama Lana’s Community Foundation, welcomed the funding announcement. “Mental health and substance/narcotic abuse challenges are something a large percentage of our Mama Lanas patrons unfortunately face,” Ms Borg said.

“There is without doubt a dire need for an urgent increase to the amount of free and accessible professional support available to those facing these challenges, but with a particular focus on ongoing support.

“Mama Lana’s Community Foundation welcomes the Morrison Liberal Governments investment for a community mental health hub with extended operational hours, because as we know too well, support isn’t something that ceases its need at 5pm.”

Minister Greg Hunt said: “By guaranteeing these centres through the Budget we have recognised that Australia needs a comprehensive, inclusive mental health system that caters for everyone, regardless of their age, or needs.”

“The eight adult community mental health hubs will provide an easily accessible entry point to the mental health system, and rapid access to mental health care for adults, regardless of whether they have mild or moderate illness or acute need.

“The Coalition was first to designate mental health as one of the four key pillars of the health care system and it is the Coalition that is prioritising better mental health for all Australians by investing a record $4.8 billion in mental health this financial year alone,” he said.

Joint media release from:
Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health
Marise Payne MP, Minister for Western Sydney
Melissa McIntosh, Liberal candidate for Lindsay
Sarah Richards, Liberal candidate for Macquarie

Macquarie candidate Sarah Richards and Lindsay candidate Melissa McIntosh at the Western Sydney launch
 
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