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Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Tara Moriarty MLC and Member for Shellharbour, Anna Watson MP are yet again calling on the Liberal National Government to immediately take action and re-instate all mental health beds at Shellharbour Hospital.

In November 2019, it was first revealed that five mental health beds in the Eloura Mental Health Unit at Shellharbour Hospital were closed due to staff shortages. Under questioning during Budget Estimates today, the Minister for Mental Health revealed that these beds in the Unit are still currently closed.

“I am absolutely disgusted that the staffing shortage in Shellharbour Hospital’s mental health units has continued to this day. Beds have now been closed and wards have now been understaffed for four whole months.” Ms Watson said.

“We are now going on four months of mental health bed closures at Shellharbour Hospital. This is in no way acceptable.” Tara Moriarty said.

Despite the Minister for Mental Health being aware of the issue, and stating that she has been ‘watching (the issue) closely’, the staffing shortage remains unchanged.

Internal sources from Shellharbour Hospital have revealed that they are currently 17 mental health staff short of what is needed to effectively and efficiently run the mental health wards. Yet the Minister was only able to announce that five new graduate students will commence employment over the coming weeks.

“Of course I welcome the new graduates that will be starting work at Shellharbour Hospital in the next few weeks, but five new staff members still won’t fix this shortage.” said Ms Watson.

“We need enough new staff members on site to re-open every bed in Shellharbour Hospital’s mental health units and we need them now. These beds have been closed for four months too long already.” said Ms Watson.

“I welcome the five new graduate staff commencing employment at Shellharbour Hospital, however this barely scratches the surface. We need to re-open these beds, we need to employ more staff as a matter of urgency.” said Ms Moriarty.

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