Patients at a Kenmore Hospital mental health unit will be moved out for three weeks, not the originally planned six months, while a review is undertaken.
Goulburn MP Wendy Tuckerman said she secured the undertaking in a meeting with Southern NSW Local Health District mental health director, Damien Eggleton, on Friday.
"It was agreed that any review needed to be done quickly to ensure patients still had access to that facility," she told The Post.
The unit will close at the end of this week and reopen on November 16.
The Health District says the review is not about the facility's future but patient safety and the model of care.
Ms Tuckerman said no patients would have to transfer to acute-care facility the Chisholm Ross Centre while it was undertaken, as was initially planned. Instead they would access mental health rehabilitation through the day program at the on-site activities centre.
"I'm told that programs are in place for each patient and those will be delivered over the next three weeks," she said.
"To me that's a great outcome."
The MP said the review was triggered by "incidents" at the centre, which she could not disclose due to patient confidentiality. It was a holistic study that would look at mental health services more broadly and how they could be improved. It's expected to take three months.
The 12-bed non-acute mental health care unit was housing four clients last week. Two were expected to be discharged by week's end.
Relatives, including Goulburn district man, Robert Foster, said there was no need to shift patients while the review was underway. Ms Tuckerman agreed and took up the matter with Mental Health Minister Bronnie Taylor and the Health District.
Mr Foster also said the Chisholm Ross Centre, to which his wife had been previously admitted, was not an appropriate facility. He told The Post she had made great progress during her month in the Hemmings Centre. She suffers a borderline personality disorder and has suicidal thoughts.
Mr Foster said the breakthrough was "fantastic news". His wife will be discharged this Friday.
"She is at a space now where she can move forward and work with the psychologist," he said.
"She tells me that while she doesn't feel she will have to go back, for my own peace of mind I'm glad it will be reopening just in case she does need more time there."
Mr Foster said it was exactly what his wife needed at the time and he felt for the four to five people who had requested admission but were "knocked back" by the Health District due to the review.
"The area needs this service," he said.
"We need to keep it, even if it has to be relocated."
Ms Tuckerman said there was never any suggestion the unit would close permanently and she was given this assurance on Friday.
Nor was the review related to budget cuts. She could not comment on whether there was any staff impact, saying this was up to the Health District.
"I will be keeping a close eye on the review and what it might produce," she said.
"If positions (beds) are not being filled there we need to know why and to understand what's being delivered on the ground.
"I'm very keen to get that...We need to get the review and go from there...I will be fighting to ensure that all levels of care are delivered."
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