Report condemns Newman Govt's mental health cost cutting

UPDATE: THE LNP has dubbed the report into the Barrett Adolescent Centre's closure under their watch a "witch hunt".

A statement from shadow health minister John-Paul Langbroek said former Health Minister Lawrence Springborg had acted appropriately.

Mr Langbroek said the Bligh Government had "sealed the fate" of the centre in 2008. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk denied this claim earlier today as the former Labor government had planned to relocate the centre to Redlands.



She said Mr Springborg had decided not to build a replacement facility.


Mr Langbroek's full statement:

"Commissioner Margaret Wilson's 600-page report has only just been made publicly available in the last hour so it's difficult to make informed comment," he said.

"From our reading of the media statement the Palaszczuk Government has spent $20 million on a political witch hunt - money we believe could have been better spent caring for young people suffering with mental health issues.

"It does seem that this government has spent $20 million on a report that is six months late that tries to apportion blame rather than investing that money into adolescent mental health.

"There is nothing in the report that suggests wrong doing by the previous Health Minister.

"His decision was made in line with the advice provided to him at the time.

"The Commission has acknowledged that the model of care being provided by the Barrett Centre was not best practice.

"Labor had already sealed the fate of the Barrett Centre in 2008 and had not left a model of acceptable care."


EARLIER: FORMER health minister Lawrence Springborg's decision to close an adolescent mental health facility in Wacol has been criticised in an official report. 

The Commission of Inquiry into the closure of the Barrett Adolescent Centre found the former LNP government decided to close the facility without a replacement, despite expert recommendations. 

The centre cared for young people with severe and complex mental health conditions. In the year following the centre's closure, three former patients suicided.

A coronial inquest is investigating their deaths. It will consider this report.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk promised a new facility would be built but not located at Wacol.

"This was a bad decision with far-reaching consequences. It was a decision made with inadequate advice and without proper consultation with the families of patients," she said.  

Ms Palaszcsuk said Mr Springborg's record-keeping of the decision making process left a lot to be desired.

The Bligh Government had initially planned to relocate the facility to near the Redlands Hospital - but the report said Mr Springborg decided to close the facility altogether because it was not considered best practice.

Funding was instead spent on a number of rural hospitals.

Ms Palaszczuk said the government would adopt the commission's six recommendations including building a new facility.

Commissioner Margaret Wilson CORRECT said the BAC facility was "isolated" at Wacol and should not have been located with The Park adult mental health facility.

The report recommended the new facility be built adjacent to an existing south-east Queensland hospital.

Ms Palaszczuk said a detailed plan for the new centre would be released in September.

The new facility is expected to contain 10-20 beds and have educational facilities and cost about $25 million.

The Opposition and Mr Springborg have been contacted for comment.

If you need help or support contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, beyondblue on 1300 22 46 36, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 18 00 or headspace on 1800 650 890.


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