Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson claims the Banksia Mental Health Unit is at a ‘crucial time’, but all hope of kids’ beds isn’t lost | The Northern Daily Leader


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It’s a “crucial time” for Tamworth’s new Banksia Mental Health Unit, but the chance to get a youth and adolescent mental health unit is not yet lost, according to Kevin Anderson. The Tamworth MP, who has been involved in the project since sponsoring a petition by the Tamworth Mental Health Carers’ Group calling for a better Banksia, said he was still committed to a young persons’ unit at the new $40 million mental health institution. Mr Anderson held a meeting with health executives in Tamworth on Thursday, which he used to push for the additional service. “It’s a broader discussion, but I will certainly be raising the child and adolescents mental heath services that are lacking in our region and why they should be included in the new unit,” he said, before the meeting. NSW Health rejected the idea of a children’s acute psychiatric unit on the basis a small service wouldn’t be able to achieve “economies of scale”, according to planning documents released to NSW parliament. In the first comments since the Leader obtained the documents last month, Mr Anderson slammed the black and white logic. Read also: “When you bring it down to dollars versus someone’s health, I don’t accept that,” Mr Anderson said. “In my view we have a need in our region for child and adolescent mental heath services, particularly acute services, and that’s what we’ve asked for, that’s what the community’s been pushing for; we’ll continue to do that.” The new Banksia is currently planned to include 33 beds, with all eight additional beds to cater for adults with acute mental health problems. The North West region does not have a single acute mental health bed for young people, and getting a small unit to cater for them was one of the demands by campaigners who won a commitment for the new institution in the first place. It will be designed in collaboration with the Tamworth Mental Health Carers’ Group, among other stakeholders. Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:


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