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Northgate not suitable as base for severe dementia patients

The State Liberals are demanding that the Weatherill Government’s upcoming State Budget commit funding for the establishment of a purpose-built facility to care for elderly dementia patients in line with the recommendations of the Oakden Report.

“The Northgate facility does not provide the facilities recommended by Chief Psychiatrist Dr Aaron Groves in his Oakden Report,” said Shadow Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade.

“Dr Groves detailed that a care facility for this patient group needs a range of elements such as private bathrooms and direct line of sight from the patient’s bed to their toilet.

“Northgate does not meet the best practice criteria and should not be the statewide base for the care of our most severe dementia patients.

“Northgate should only be a temporary option between the closure of Makk and McLeay Wards at Oakden and the establishment of a new facility for elderly patients with severe dementia (Tier 7 BPSD).”

The State Liberals have called for the Weatherill Government to retain Ward 18 at the Repat as a specialist dementia facility, and a home for some of the residents of Oakden.

“The Repat would be a much better base for a service for South Australians with severe dementia and associated challenging behaviours,” said Mr Wade.

“Taking Ward 18 out of this area of care would also be an obscene waste of taxpayers’ money.

“Ward 18 is a purpose-built older persons mental health facility constructed at a cost of $10 million.

“It is a valuable asset, only 10 years old, with a contemporary design so sound that the Weatherill Government is basically replicating it at the Flinders Medical Centre.

“The Chief Psychiatrist estimated that, within four years, there will be 29 South Australians needing the high level of care that would be provided by the purpose-built facility – Ward 18 has capacity for 30.”

“The Chief Psychiatrist says that a new facility may take two years to build – Ward 18 is scheduled to be available from September.”