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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 1468 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

take back home or refused to have in a nursing home was somebody who had actually been on at least one overseas trip during the time they had spent in the nursing home. Sometimes the stories we read in the Canberra Times, particularly health stories, do not necessarily tell the full story, but you do raise important concerns, Mr Wood.

Currently 13 clients remaining at Watson Hostel are immediately affected by the closure. Three clients will move into a group home in the Dickson area when it becomes available and the remaining 10 will move to Hennessy House. Four of the 10 clients are waiting for a nursing home or a hostel placement. There are currently 32 clients at Hennessy House. Of these, seven are moving into alternative forms of community-based supported accommodation. As a result, Hennessy House will be able to temporarily accommodate clients until nursing home placements are available.

A small number of clients have been difficult to place in accommodation more suitable to their needs. This is mainly due to the following factors: The reluctance of some services to take on clients currently accommodated within the mental health service, despite the inappropriateness of the current placement; lengthy waiting lists in aged care hostels and nursing homes; and difficulty in finding houses in the community suitable for the establishment of supported group homes. Despite these impediments, we remain confident that all clients will be appropriately relocated by the end of September 1998. ACT Mental Health Services staff have been working closely with residents, carers and ACT Disability Aged and Carer Advocacy Service, ADACAS, to ensure that those residents wishing or able to live in alternative forms of accommodation are able to do so. As Watson Hostel nears its closure date, some clients and staff are feeling a sense of loss. Management is aware of this and are working to support the clients and staff through this period.

Mr Wood, it seems to me that there were very good reasons why we would close Watson Hostel, although the decision was made before I became Minister, and I am sure you recognise those. This is a difficult process. It is a process of change that affects people fundamentally. I believe the appropriate effort is being made to ensure that all steps are taken to help people through it in the best way possible.

MR WOOD: I ask a supplementary question. I thank Mr Moore for his assurances. I fully accept that the Canberra Times is not always accurate. In respect of these cases, Mr Moore would acknowledge that it was my practice to see him rather than make any public issue out of matters of this nature. Minister, you said that you were confident that everybody would be appropriately accommodated. Is that generally with the agreement of all those concerned, or are there still some outstanding disagreements?

MR MOORE: Unfortunately, there will be some disagreement. In the particular case I mentioned, I understood there was some disagreement. Mental Health Services believed the person would be appropriately accommodated in a nursing home but the person's family believed that basically every nursing home place that was found was inappropriate. The answer to your question is that there will be some situations where there is not total agreement, and we will use the normal methods of resolving those problems. I hope we can do it in a way that is least disruptive to the people involved.

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