Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles. Picture: Liam Kidston.
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles. Picture: Liam Kidston.

Minister seeks answers over care home closure plan

QUEENSLAND Health Minister Steven Miles is seeking urgent discussions with the Federal Government over the pending closure of a Brisbane residential care centre for people with profound intellectual and physical disabilities.

The Halwyn Centre's 39 residents and their families were advised of the facility's closure at an emotional meeting on Tuesday.

Metro North Hospital and Health Service, which runs the Red Hill centre, said it would close on November 27, upsetting Halwyn staff and the families of many residents who describe the centre as "a home". Some residents have lived there for decades.

The announcement follows a decision by the National Disability Insurance Agency to reject an application from Metro North for Halwyn to be recognised as a specialist disability accommodation provider.

After being contacted by families of Halwyn residents, distraught over the centre's closure, Mr Miles has written to Federal Social Services Minister Paul Fletcher seeking "an urgent teleconference" to discuss the issue.

"As a result of this decision, I've been contacted by a number of families who are distressed and very concerned about the impact it will have on their family member and other residents," Mr Miles wrote.

"Many families have also shared their concerns about the appropriateness of the National Disability Insurance Scheme packages being provided to residents."

Halwyn families have also contacted The Courier-Mail devastated about the closure, particularly given the NDIA will not guarantee 24/7 nursing care in their packages.

Some of the Halwyn residents have seizures which cannot be managed by disability care workers.

Mr Miles has promised to meet with affected Halwyn residents and their families later this month to discuss their concerns.

In a statement to The Courier-Mail, the NDIA said: "The National Disability Insurance Scheme was never intended to replace other mainstream government services, such as health, mental health, education, justice or community-based supports.

"Responsibility for diagnosis, clinical care and treatment of health conditions lies with health services, including those provided by state and territory governments.

"However, some NDIS plans may include funding for a qualified nurse to train a disability support worker to assist a participant to ensure that the support provided meets NDIS quality and safety requirements."

Respite care at the Halwyn Centre, built in 1979, will cease from February 28.