After almost 20 years of operating the Elizabeth Hansen Autumn Centre, Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service will walk away from operating the residential hostel after being unsuccessful in securing funding from the state government.
The organisation’s chairperson, Jackie Oakley, said the centre's management had been in discussions with the WA Country Health Service (WACHS), but the Board made the difficult decision to relinquish control of the operation.
“Sadly, we have been unable to secure appropriate funding from the State Government to continue to operate the Elizabeth Hansen Autumn Centre and have made the tough decision to relinquish our service role and hand the facility back to the State,” Ms Oakley said.
“This decision has not been made lightly, but without a funding commitment of at least $675,000 a year, which equates to $85 per person, per night, we cannot sustain our position as a service provider.”
Derbarl Yerrigan had been seeking recurrent funding of roughly $675,000 per year. Instead, WACHS agreed to an exit grant of $250,000 to cover operating costs until June 30 and will assist in the handing back of the centre. WACHS will then take over as the service provider.
In a statement to NITV News a spokesperson from WACHS said they would keep the Elizabeth Hansen Autumn Centre open.
“The WA Country Health Service will ensure the Elizabeth Hansen Autumn Centre remains open and accessible to Aboriginal patients travelling to Perth from remote and regional Western Australia,” the service said in a written statement read.
WACHS also said they would continue to offer patient support through additional services such as the Patient Assisted Travel Scheme (PATS) and Meet and Greet Services, which is currently being offered.
Elizabeth Hansen Autumn Centre is located in the inner-city suburb area of Bayswater, which is a 10-minute drive to Royal Perth Hospital, the city’s main hospital. The centre is also close to Derbarl Yerrigan’s East Perth clinical centre.
The centre offers 32 beds for Aboriginal patients and carers who have often travelled from regional and remote communities, particularly the Kimberley, Pilbara and Goldfields.
In the past three years alone, more than 200 people have used the centre. The average length of stay is six to nine months for most patients, with many patients undergoing renal care and kidney dialysis.