Western Australia Mental Health Care Activists Margaret Cook & Sara Elliott Find Conditions at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital Appalling

Thank you, mental health activists Margaret Cook and Sara Elliott for exposing alleged deplorable conditions imposed on mental health patients at the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Western Australia. Thank you to Cathy O’Leary for writing the article and to The West Australian for the publication.

Contact links to health authorities cited in the article by Cathy O’Leary available at bottom of this post by blogger.

Full Article http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/breaking/15752483/scgh-psychiatric-ward-unfit-for-patients/


SCGH psychiatric ward ‘unfit’ for patients

Cathy O’Leary Medical Editor, The West Australian

The West Australian © Appalled: Margaret Cook and Sara Elliott. Picture: Mogens Johansen/ The West Australian

The West Australian © Appalled: Margaret Cook and Sara Elliott.

Picture: Mogens Johansen/ The West Australian

Update, 12.50pm: Mental health advocates claim the psychiatric unit at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital is unfit for patients, citing mouldy showers, air-conditioning vents covered in cobwebs and rats in a courtyard.

Long-time mental health activist Margaret Cook took photographs last month of a rusty showerhead, mouldy shower tiles and general disrepair in D20, a 36-bed ward for voluntary patients, while visiting Sara Elliott who was being treated for depression.

The pair said they saw big rats in a courtyard adjacent to the unit and were later told by staff they had tried unsuccessfully to get rid of them using bait.

Ms Cook was so appalled by the state of decay that she sent the photographs to Federal Mental Health Minister Mark Butler, WA’s Mental Health Minister Helen Morton and Mental Health Commissioner Eddie Bartnik……

“It’s degrading to mental health patients who are already very vulnerable but are often too scared to complain because they feel they don’t have any rights,” Ms Cook said. “The showers are so bad I wouldn’t wash a dog in them.”

Ms Elliott said staff did what they could but were clearly hampered by a lack of funding to do basic maintenance. …

Sandra Boulter from the Mental Health Law Centre said she had concerns about D20 as well as wards at Graylands Hospital.

By yesterday SCGH appeared to have rectified some issues raised by Ms Cook, saying not all her photos “accurately represented the current state of the ward”.

Acting Premier Kim Hames said senior executives from the South Metropolitan Area Health Service would inspect the facilities and if they were in the condition suggested by the photos, they would be improved.

Dr Hames said a new mental health facility would be built at the SCGH by 2014.

But he agreed in the meantime, facilities had to be maintained “to a reasonable standard”. …


Retrieved 1/4/13.  http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/breaking/15752483/scgh-psychiatric-ward-unfit-for-patients/

Outraged? Get Active, Speak-up!


Federal Mental Health Minister Mark Butler

email: ministerbutler@health.gov.au

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/MarkButlerMP

Ministerial Team

Parliament House Contact

Suite MG48
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Tel: (02) 6277 7280     Fax: (02) 6273 4138

email: ministerbutler@health.gov.au

Electorate Office

15 Semaphore Road
Semaphore SA 5019


PO Box 2038
Port Adelaide SA 5015

Ph: (08) 8242 0733     Fax: (08) 8242 0744


Minister for Mental Health

Minister for Mental Health Helen Morton MLC, photo credits unknown

Honourable Helen Morton MLC
Minister for Mental Health; Disability Services

(Photo credit unknown)

7th Floor, Dumas House
2 Havelock Street

tel: (08) 6552-6900
fax: (08) 6552-6901
email: Minister.Morton@dpc.wa.gov.au
website: http://www.premier.wa.gov.au/Ministers/Helen-Morton 


Government of Western Australia Department of Health

South Metropolitan Health Service


Contact Us

Chief Executive South Metropolitan Health Service Ms Nicole Feely

South Metropolitan Health Service

Phone:              08 9318 7500 from overseas: + 61 8 9318 7500

Fax:                  08 9318 7515 from overseas: + 61 8 9318 7515

Address:           16 Ogilvie Road Mount Pleasant Western Australia

Postal Address:  Locked Bag 8 Canning Bridge WA 6153

SMHS Governing Council

Contact the SMHS Governing Council by sending an email to: smhsgoverningcouncil@health.wa.gov.au


Further Reading:

Wikipedia (Mark Butler) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Butler

Australian Labor Party http://www.alp.org.au/federal-government/labor-people/mark-butler/

Radio National: Kids Matter http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/lifematters/mark-butler-minister-for-mental-health-and-ageing/2919706

Leave a comment


  1. Fayette

     /  09/30/2014

    PRSISE XXXXXX. I am APPALLINGLY Outraged that there are RATS, MILDEW, RUST, & other stuff is Allowed to Continue at one of the Leading Australian Hospitial. How can any politicians allow such APPALLING CONDITIONS to exist in this modern Country. Not having enough FINANCE to fix the problems~in-excuseable. Majority of All who are in charge; Hang Your Heads In SHAME. We Are All TaxPayers Including ALL Patients who hav mental PROBLEMS & hav been Patients in Ward XXXXXX. SHAME ON U ALL. RUDDY DISCRIMINATORY. Get your Acts together. All of you get well paid & it’s more than enough & By TaxPayers Money. SHAMEFUL. Fix ALL The Above & Any Others.


    • Hi Fayette, You seem to have first hand information or personal experience with Australian hospitals and I’m sorry there is too much going on.

      I hope citizens are able to change the circumstances of mental health-care consumers.

      I can no longer allow deflamatory posts so I had to redact a little.

      Peace, JB



What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: