TIME TO ACT: Shadow Health Minister Ros Bates says delays to the Step Up Step Down facilities could cost lives.
TIME TO ACT: Shadow Health Minister Ros Bates says delays to the Step Up Step Down facilities could cost lives. Paul Braven GLA020617BATES

Asbestos find delays mental health facility

PATIENTS will have to wait until next year to access a specialist mental health facility in Shakespeare Street due to ongoing delays.

The $5.4m Step Up Step Down service is a 10-bed facility for adult mental health patients to assist with their transition back into the community.

The project was announced in October 2017 and was scheduled to open months ago in June 2018. However, delays have pushed back the expected opening date 12 months to June 2019.

Delays to the Shakespeare Street facilities have been caused by asbestos being found at the site.

But Shadow Health Minister Ros Bates has accused the Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services Steven Miles of making a "hollow promise" to the people of Mackay.

"We know that mental health is in dire straits in Queensland," she said.

Ms Bates said the delays to the facility could be fatal. "It's another 12 months where people are out in the community with no support."

Member for Mackay Julianne Gilbert has rejected claims that patients have been abandoned by hospitals, saying that adequate interim services are being run by Mackay Hospital and Health Service in partnership with Mind Australia. Mrs Gilbert said that during its year of operation 102 people have stayed at the interim facilities.

Ms Bates will spend the next few days in Mackay consulting with frontline health workers developing the LNP's regional mental health policy.



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