Since the late 1990s, seriously ill Aboriginal people from far-flung towns across WA have been able to stay at a Perth hostel while getting medical treatment they cannot access at home.
Elizabeth Hansen Autumn Centre located in the inner-city suburb of Bayswater provides 32 beds for Aboriginal patients travelling from as far as the Pilbara, Kimberly and Goldfields.
It is the only culturally appropriate hostel in Perth that accommodates long-term renal dialysis patients and their carers. They are welcome to stay for up to nine months.
The service will close by the end of the month because the health service that has run it, Derbarl Yerrigan, has lost the ongoing funding it required.
Two alternatives Allawah Grove (52 beds) and Derbarl Bidiar (28 beds) only offer short-term accommodation.
Elizabeth Hansen Autumn Centre costs $550,000 a year to operate.
More than 200 people have used its service since the WA Country Health Service (WACHS) withdrew recurrent operational funding three years ago.
Since then they have been self- funding 70 per cent of the centre’s operation and recently they introduced a nightly charge to stay afloat.
However, Derbarl Yerrigan chairperson Jackie Oakley said the centre had been unable to get the WA government to commit to stable funding.
“Without this minimal level of funding we cannot sustain the service and will be forced to shut the doors,” she said.
In November, WACHS offered the organisation a one-off payment of $80,000 which would cover the costs of six beds for only six months.
WA Health Minister Roger Cook would not comment when asked by NITV if he would provide further funding.
NITV understand Derbarl Yerrigan Health will continue to negotiate in “good faith” but without the arrival of new funding it proceed with the anticipated closure date of March 31.