Peel Mobile Health Service in danger with withdrawal of $130,000 funding

Dawesville MLA Zak Kirkup discusses the situation with GP Down South program coordinator Gail Frater.
Representatives of sponsors and other interested parties at the public meeting today.
Dawesville MLA Zak Kirkup discusses the situation with GP Down South program coordinator Gail Frater. Representatives of sponsors and other interested parties at the public meeting today.

PEEL Mobile Health Service, a much-needed and trusted health care initiative for the past four years, is facing the withdrawal of its $130,000 a year funding.

Since 2012, the service has provided and supported valuable health care initiatives and become integral in attracting new health services to regional areas of Peel and in linking and promoting existing services.

But South Metropolitan Health Service has advised it will no longer fund the service after June 30.

GP Down South is leading the fight to get the State Government to reverse its decision and held a public meeting at Halls Head Beach today.

A second meeting is likely, possibly in Waroona, next week.

South Metropolitan Health Services gives the duplication of services as its excuse for the proposed funding cut.

GP Down South business development manager Eleanor Britton urged the Government not to deprive the community of a trusted service that had built up over five years.

“All that hard work and some bureaucrat comes along and just takes away our funding’’ she said.

Mrs Britton said the GP Down South board would underwrite the funding cost until September 30.

The loss of the service would leave a massive hole in the Peel region with Pinjarra, Waroona and Dwellingup the hardest hit.

Its services include homelessness, child and mental health issues, drugs and alcohol, older adult mental health, diabetes education, dietary services, more than 27 health education events, particularly through schools and Aboriginal outreach services.

It is still involved in providing trauma counselling in Waroona and Harvey to victims of the Yarloop fires almost 18 months ago.

In Waroona and Pinjarra particularly, there is no access to facilities provided by the mobile service and public transport is a problem.

Former Health Minister Kim Hames officially opened the mobile service in 2012.

The three Mandurah Rotary Clubs and Pinjarra Rotary Club each donated $8000 towards the project with other sponsors including Bendigo Bank, Barbagallo, GP Down South and Alcoa.

Dawesville MLA Zac Kirkup said the State Government spent $8 billion on health but could not find $130,000 to keep the service going.

“We must work hard to get some continuity,’’ he said.

A South Metropolitan Health Service spokesperson said the service was committed to providing quality health services and value for money to the south metropolitan community.

“South Metropolitan Health Service recently completed a review of the service, which showed limited service provision with little increase in services over the years,” she said.

“There is also duplication of other services available in the Peel region.

“For example 360 health + community have introduced healthy lifestyle programs (for people with or at risk of diabetes).

“Peel Youth Medical Service provides access to primary care in Mandurah and there are alternative venues in communities such as the Waroona Community Resource Centre.

“The WA Primary Health Alliance is currently commissioning a range of suicide prevention and mental health services in the Peel region.

“As such, the grant agreement will cease in line with its scheduled expiry date.”

The spokeswoman thanked GP down south team for their dedication in providing this service to the Peel region over the past five years.

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