Time to synapse into action on brain centre

NEARLY three years ago Liberal MPGreg Aplin, announced his plan for a brain health centre to be established in Albury.
Nanjing Night Net

It was promoted as a placewhereservices would be brought together with help provided for conditions ranging from eating disorders to Alzheimer’sdisease.

“I would hope it reduces the amount of people seeking acute care,” Mr Aplin said.

He noted Albury’s high response to a suicide prevention forum had been vital toa $3 million commitment to the project from the NSW government.

At the time, March 2014, The Border Mail, in aneditorial headlined ‘Brain centre a smart idea’, described it as “a great step forward in the provision of mental health services for the region”.

Now the project is in limbo with the funding having been diverted for other uses by the NSW health department.

The Labor Opposition has castthe blame for the project’s failure on Mr Aplin, saying it was prematurely announced and inadequately funded.

Albury Wodonga Health, which would have hosted the brain centre, is administered by Victoria which further blurs the blame.

That’s state’s Labor Mental Health Minister Martin Foley said last week that further work was being done on the project but it needed a larger budget.

Jump back to NSW and that state now has a new health minister withJillian Skinner, who had been briefed on the centre, replaced this week.

That suggests the idea is not far from being back at the starting gate.

Such a scenario is a great shame considering the passion the city has shown to tackle mental health, most notably with the formation of a headspace centre.

No doubt Mr Aplin’s idea is worthy but has he done enough to prosecute his case?

It appears Border bureaucracy has stymied the project and contributed to the brain centre stalling.

What is needed is a determined re-engagement by Mr Aplin reinforced by Albury Wodonga Health getting on the front foot and action from the NSW government.

Mental health woes are too serious to be sidelined by political point-scoring and the NSW Coalition and Victorian Labor governments should collaborate.

The joint health service has worked well in a number of areas but mental health has been the poor relation and deserves better.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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