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July 16, 2014
MEDIA RELEASE RE FUNDING CUTS FROM WARREN SNOWDON MP
July 16, 2014

More on mental health funding cuts…

By Pamela Nathan

Further to yesterday’s blog about Ntaria’s RFDS mental health services funding cuts, following is the letter from Utju Health Service about funding being slashed to their mental health care program.

Utju is located 240 km west of Alice Springs, on the western edge of Western Aranda traditional lands and the northern edge of the Pitjantjatjara lands.

Utju Health Service Aboriginal Corporation is a community health centre and received accreditation in 2011. The health service is governed by a Board consisting of five elected community members. Best practice is ascertained by a Continuous Quality Improvement program.

Utju/Areyonga has an estimated population of 175 people. Pitjantjatjara is the main language spoken. The community lies within the Haasts Bluff Aboriginal Land Trust area and a permit is required to enter the land.

Minister Dutton, please explain.

Let’s support Utju!

 

COPY OF LETTER:

Utju Health Service Aboriginal Corporation Utju Clinic

Areyonga Community NT 

9th July 2014

We the Directors of the Utju Health Service Aboriginal Corporation have been advised that the RFDS Mental Health Services in Rural & Remote Areas project on the western side of the Stuart Highway is to cease at the end of July 2014.

Our concerns are:-

  •  We have had this service every week for the past seven years and we have not been consulted about any change. 
  • Who made this decision and why? We understand that the RFDS did not sign a contract with the Medical Local because there was insufficient funding to provide the standard of care required. 
  • This service has been a culturally appropriate mental health service which suits the community needs at Utju. 
  • We do not know if/how our community will be serviced after July 2014 
  • Who will do the week by week care of the Central Australian Mental Health Service (CAMHS) clients? 
  • Who is going to provide the primary mental health care to the majority of the clients, with the less serious mental health problems anxieties, grief/loss, depressions , community work etc? CAMHS don’t have the resources to provide extra services for the primary health care needs, and clinics do not have the capacity to carry out this extra work . 
  • Who will work with the Aboriginal Health Workers?
  • Small problems will grow into big problems without someone to do primary mental health. We will have more people admitted to hospital and more worried people in our community. 
  • With only one year of funding a new worker would not have time to get to know the community or everyone’s needs. 
  • We do not understand why our Mental Health program has been cut when the RFDS program east of the Stuart Highway still has their funding. As far as we know all the other MHSRRA programs in Australia have been funded. The Government said the mental health services would be all funded for another year.

Letter signed by

Chair of the Board:

Peggy Gallagher

Directors:

Judy Brumby

Sarah Gallagher

Jonathon   Doolan

Rachael  Tjukintja

Daphne Puntjina

Upia  Long

 

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