Service providers are calling for the three-year-old Peel Health Hub to urgently expand.
GP Down South and Allambee are seeking $19.9 million to construct a health services building connected to the existing Peel Health Hub.
Peel Health Hub 2.0 will increase and broaden the range of health services provided.
The calls come amid a surge in clients at the Hub.
Since 2019, Allambee alone has doubled its services with 9.5 full time counsellors now providing on average 100 sessions per month.
GP Down South manager Eleanor Britton and Allambee manager Nicci Lambert sat down with the Mail to discuss big plans for the Hub.
"What we have seen over the last couple of years is that not only has the demand for our services increased but the complexity is something we haven't seen before," Ms Lambert said.
"This expansion of the Peel Health Hub will expand the model of care and types of services we can wrap around clients that come into the building and will successfully address those complexities."
Peel Health Hub 2.0 has five key focuses.
The first is more services for people experiencing family and domestic violence, and sexual assault as waitlists at Allambee have doubled in the past 12 months.
Another focus is a specialist forensic sexual assault service to break down barriers to reporting and access to early counselling and support.
The council sees the Peel Health Hub proposal as a next important step in making sure our community has the access to the services they need- Mandurah mayor Rhys Williams
The third component of the plan is for more and better integrated mental health services for those with complex needs.
At Peel Youth Medical Services alone demand has grown from 451 to 984 clients per year with 68 people on the waitlist.
If expanded, the Hub would be able to service more people with complex needs.
The fourth key focus is an urgent need for specialised eating disorder services.
For people aged over 16, there are very few eating disorder specialist services in WA and none outside Perth.
Money for a residential eating disorder centre in the Peel has been promised by the federal government but there are no concrete plans yet as to where, when and how it will be constructed.
GP Down South and Allambee are pushing for investment in an early intervention eating disorder service as part of the Hub expansion.
The final component is women's health with the Community Women's Health Stakeholder Group ranking Peel as the metropolitan area with the highest need for more health services for women.
Ms Britton said these key focuses in the expansion would build on the model of care the Hub had provided over the last three years.
"We've got an opportunity to make it a regional health facility, focusing on issues that we know are really prevalent in the community, and attracting new services, investment and employment to the region," she said.
Organisations including Regional Development Australia, Peel Development Commission and the City of Mandurah have already thrown their support behind the Hub 2.0 business case.
Mandurah councillors voted to advocate for its expansion ahead of the federal election.
Mayor Rhys Williams said with the rapidly growing population, healthcare services close to home were important.
"Without the appropriate level of community-based services for local people living in disadvantage and with complex heath care needs, we are going to see more pressure placed on our hospitals, or people simply, and unacceptably, going without the care they need," he said.
"The focus on our local health system over recent years from state and federal government has been necessary and very welcomed and the council sees the Peel Health Hub proposal as the next important step in making sure our community has the access to the services they need, when they need it."
The expansion is expected to provide integrated health services to an additional 3,000 clients. The proposal anticipates 55 jobs created during construction and 52 new jobs once operating.
If funding agreements are in place by July 1 the expansion could be operational by March 2024.
The Mail will explore the five key focuses of the Peel Health Hub expansion in more detail over the coming weeks. What do you think about the plan? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.