SA budget: $14.7m facility to replace Oakden aged mental care wards

SA budget: $14.7m facility to replace Oakden aged mental care wards

SA budget: $14.7m facility to replace Oakden aged mental care wards

Updated 11 June 2017, 13:00 AEST

A $14.7-million aged mental health care facility will be built in Adelaide to replace the controversial Oakden facility in the city's north, which is being closed due to abuse and neglect of patients going back a decade.

A $14.7-million aged mental health care facility will be built in Adelaide to replace the besieged Oakden facility in the city's north, which is being closed due to abuse and neglect of patients going back a decade.

Mental Health Minister Leesa Vlahos said the new build was in line with recommendations by the chief psychiatrist's damning report about Oakden.

She said the funding included $1 million to support the development of a specialised contemporary model of care as well as a scoping study to determine the site and design of the new building.

Oakden's Makk and McLeay wards are being closed after chief psychiatrist Doctor Aaron Groves reported a culture of staff discontent and bickering, and practices such as seclusion, restraint and rough-handling.

He was commissioned to review the facility following the repeated overdosing and unexplained bruises of patient Bob Spriggs in 2016.

Ms Vlahos said the new facility would cater for people assessed with the most severe forms of Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD).

She said a decision on the new building's location would not be rushed.

"But obviously we are concerned and want to do it with the appropriate haste, but [we are] listening to clinicians to design the right platform, then [we will] figure out the right site and the right design precincts."

The full SA budget will be announced on June 22.

Oakden staff to move with patients to new site

The Government is currently planning to relocate 14 Oakden residents to the newly refurbished Northgate Aged Care facility this week, with another 12 already moved to the residential aged care sector.

Oakden's new clinical leader Doctor Duncan McKeller said some staff from Oakden would also be transferred to Northgate.

"We are confident that we will be able to continue to work with those staff and their commitment to the best quality care of our residents," he said.

He said the number was "currently being finalised" but suggested about six staff would need to be working in the facility at any given time.

"This facility is fantastic and it will work very well for our residents … and it may well be the platform upon which we'll built a full range of contemporary services, as is the recommendation in the report," Dr McKeller said.

Ms Vlahos said she had made it "very clear that I have a zero tolerance to elder abuse".

She said the staff had a "clear expectation and direction from SA Health that this is a new time, a new model of care that we're developing and a high standard of care".

"There is significant ongoing professional training that has taken place in Oakden since January and I expect all of our staff, regardless of what level, to have ongoing training and professional development," Ms Vlahos said.

She said the Government intended to decommission the Makk and McLeay wards at the end of the week, "if all the transition criteria go well, but we need to be led by the clinicians".