BY ISABEL EVERETT

Staff and patients at the Wallsend Aged Care Facility are raising concern the centre might be sold off or shut down. 

Patient numbers have reportedly dropped from 98 to 55 over the past 12 months, with staff reporting no new residents have been taken on since January 2020 last year, resulting in cuts to staff shifts.

The facility has also allegedly stopped taking on undergraduate Registered Nurses.

Wallsend MP, Sonia Hornery presented a notice of motion in parliament on Tuesday calling on the Health Minister to confirm there are no plans to close or privatise the State Government owned facility.

“It’s a special facility, it looks after some of the most difficult cases of people with dementia that many other facilities wont take.” 

Ms Hornery says successive Governments have attempted to close or privatise the facility in the past, including the NSW Labor Government in 2009, and the community have fought to keep it open. 

“The Government has a history of not maintaining the facility as they should.”

In 2017, the facility failed an audit by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency, reportedly due to management failing to provide a safe and comfortable environment for residents.

Cleaning and catering staff were found to be under-resourced.

Ms Hornery says any move to close or sell the facility would simply be an attempt to cut costs. 

“I look forward to hearing from the Minister and I hope that the answer is what the community wants to hear because if it’s not, then he can expect another very public and vocal campaign, just like last time.”The Health Minister and Hunter New England Health have been contacted for comment.