Stress on mental health continue

CARERS, friends and relatives of the mentally ill are devastated at the state government's rejection of funds to establish new mental health facilities in Hervey Bay and Maryborough.

Maryborough spokeswoman for activist group Association of the Relatives and Friends of the Mentally Ill Kathleen Muir said the community was in a state of shock over the Queensland LNP's decision to knock back $25 million in federal funds for new mental health facilities on the Fraser Coast.

"It was distressing, because of the need," Mrs Muir said.

"We live in hope but I don't see him (Health Minister Lawrence Springborg) reversing it, at least not completely.

"People that really do need extra care often can't get it because the beds can be full, just like the whole hospital system."

A $4.7 million redevelopment of the in-patient facility in Maryborough and a brand new $20 million, 18-bed acute in-patient facility in Hervey Bay have been lost to the region as the LNP said it cannot afford the ongoing operating costs if the facilities were built.

Member for Wide Bay Warren Truss condemned the debt the state LNP has inherited from Labor and offered to work with his federal and state counterparts to reduce the stress on mental health services in the region.

"I am disappointed that the mental health upgrade in Maryborough will not proceed at this time," Mr Truss said.

"Mental illness is a serious issue within our community and much more needs to be done to help those suffering from it.

Labor left the State Government's finances in a mess, having amassed a $65 billion debt and heading for up to $100 billion, so I understand the State is struggling to fund even existing services. Under Labor, services were downgraded and stripped away from our hospitals - we need a plan to restore and upgrade services.

"The Federal Government should work with the State Government to ensure that our region has the health services it needs.

"I am prepared to meet with state and federal health ministers if it would help to improve services in the region."

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