“How many more children have to die?” Father’s plea as health promise falters

“As far as I know, they refuse to make room for the beds in the hospital. The manager [Andrew Newton] refuses to talk about those beds when I try to ask what’s going on. I’ll be fed. I have never experienced such unprofessionalism and arrogance in my entire professional career.”

Scamps said the closest specialist facility offering beds for pediatric mental health patients is in Hornsby, but that’s too far away for children in crisis.

“If the youth mental health beds aren’t set up by Christmas this year, Andrew Newton, the CEO, should step down,” Scamps said herald.

A spokesman for Healthscope, which operates the hospital, said it would not comment on the funding delays and did not give a timeline for constructing the beds. Newton didn’t comment either, instead sending the message heralds Questions to Northern Sydney Local Health District.

A spokesman for the NSLHD said although no task force had been set up and a timetable could not be guaranteed, there is now a full-time adolescent psychiatrist at the hospital where there was none before.

Mental Health Secretary Rose Jackson said Monday the situation was “worrying” and that the state government must “do everything we can to provide accessible support to those experiencing a mental health crisis.”

“We cannot allow vulnerable people to not know where to turn and what help is available to them,” Jackson said.

“We will be monitoring this situation closely to ensure more critical mental health support beds are made available to young people at Northern Beaches Hospital as soon as possible.”

If you or someone you know needs support, call lifeline at 131 114 or Beyond Blue at 1300 224 636.

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Justin Scaccy

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