Health van closes in ‘current format’ due to lack of funds

GP Down South has announced it will be closing it’s Peel Mobile Health Service in it’s current format, due to a lack of funding from the state government.

The health service, operated for six-years, provides general practice medicine, clinics for homeless teenagers, counselling to those affected by the Waroona-Yarloop bushfires, and child and adolescent mental health services to the Waroona community.

The mobile van had received funding from the state government for five-years before it being axed and then revived, after receiving a one-off funding grant in June last year. 

Read More: 

In a letter addressed to stakeholders, GP Down South chief Amanda Poller said funding for the service would cease at the end of June.

“We are proud to have been part of a service that has supported the health and wellbeing of marginalised and geographically isolated communities,” the letter said.

Ms Poller told the Mandurah Mail they were considering partnering the service with the Peel Health Hub.

“It will become an extension of the hub,” she said. “The upside of that is we can still access those communities in need.

“The downside for us, is that our coordinator built relationships with the communities and made connections with service providers,” she said, 

“It is a bit of a disadvantage. But we knew the funding would be coming to an end, and we had to look at other service models, that we could operate at less cost.”

Murray-Wellington MP Robyn Clarke said she tried to keep the service alive for as long as possible.

“Funding for the service was pulled by the previous Liberal National Government in 2016, and to continue the service beyond June 2017, Mandurah MP David Templeman and myself were able to secure government funding…,” she said.

“This was a one-off grant agreement to GP Down South from the Shire for 12-months.

“GP Down South are currently working on ways in that the Mobile Health Service could be used as an outreach service as part of the new Peel Health Hub.”

The opposition’s Peel region spokesman Zak Kirkup said it was “disappointing” the service was not funded again. 

“Out of the nearly $9 billion being spent on health in Western Australia, not only do we see no money going into Peel Health Campus but we're seeing critical mobile health services like this being cut,” he said. 

“If the WA Government can't provide a few hundred thousand dollars for what is a vital mobile health service, it shows just how much contempt this Government has for Mandurah and the Peel. 

“It's very disappointing and I'll be taking this matter up with the Health Minister in Parliament over the coming weeks because the contempt and arrogance on display from this government for our community isn't good enough - we deserve better.”