E-Blast: Closure of Halwyn Centre at Red Hill

Metro North Hospital and Health Services (MNHHS) announced on 15 January the closure of the Halwyn Centre at Red Hill. The Halwyn Centre is along-stay health facility that provides residential care for people with intellectual and physical disability and also provides respite care for people with disability including young children from the age of six. Halywn Centre’s 39 residents and their families were advised that the centre will close on 27 November 2019, and respite services will cease from February.

Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN) are working with a range of key stakeholders, including Health Consumers Queensland as the peak voices for Queenslanders with disability and patients within the health system with a focus on the transition process for residents of Halwyn and their families/carers.

QDN acknowledges that considerable work has been done to date by Metro North Hospital and Health Service (HHS) in making the decision about the closure of Halwyn. The decision provides an opportunity for people with disability to move to community based living options based upon the principles of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) of inclusion, choice and control.

However, QDN and HCQ are concerned with the timeframes associated with this decision and subsequent plan, leaving limited time for planning for this life changing transition and ensuring people with disability and their families are at the centre of the decision making.

It is critical that the process is built upon good engagement processes with residents, families/carers, guardians and advocates. We know from work supporting people to move from institutional based settings over the past three decades, that this is a very challenging time for people themselves, and families/carers and staff. For many of the residents of Halwyn, this has been their home for almost 40 years.

QDN is particularly concerned that residents may have to move twice as the planning that people need to do takes time, to think about where they want to live and with whom.  This will mean either finding existing housing or building new housing that best fits with resident’s needs, and what support needs they have. QDN is aware that 10 months is not a long time to do this work properly, and get the best outcomes for each individual.

QDN understands there is a meeting on 29 January and looks forward to working with all key stakeholders, and are committed to work with people with disability, families/carers and substitute decision makers to ensure the next steps deliver the best outcomes for the residents of Halwyn as they move to the NDIS environment of inclusion, choice and control.