Dear Minister Foley,
I am writing to you regarding your recent announcement of the closure of the Eastern View Continuing Care Unit (CCU), the only CCU in the Grampians region.
The closure of this facility has been announced before any direct consultation with clinical staff, Eastern View consumers or the community. This is dangerous decision, and a dangerous method in the way you have approached this announcement.
CCUs are a rehab service which provide 24-hour clinical care and residential rehabilitation for people living with severe mental illnesses, co-morbid issues and other disabilities. CCUs are critically important facilities staffed by highly skilled clinicians who support people with complex illnesses and there are no other community treatment options like it.
I note you have announced that you will build a Prevention and Recovery Centre as well as a Drug and Alcohol Service in Ballarat. Although I welcome this decision, neither service will provide the services needed for users of the CCU.
CCUs play a critical role in the mental health system. Ballarat will be the only major regional city without any long-term rehabilitation facilities, cities such as Geelong, Warrnambool, Bendigo, Traralgon and Albury/Wodonga all have both a CCU and PARC service.
Closing the CCU will mean Ballarat will lose 20 important clinical community beds, at a time when the NDIS is closing community services and the special residential services (SRS’s) have proven to be ineffective.
I urge you to enter into negotiations to see that the important service offered by the CCU remain an option in the Ballarat community.