Thursday Aug 14th. Media release Prison officers and Corrective Services are before the Industrial Relations Commission today. The 6 day strike was lifted to negotiate. It was about the effects of the reduced staffing at the Long Bay Hospital. It means that Justice Minister Hatzistergos has the total Long Bay prison community in crisis due to his callous attempt to cut costs and remove 28 prison officer positions.
The effect on the patients have been horrific. Normally such vulnerable people would be exempt from the effects of industrial action. This total isolation for mentally ill people will cause immense damage amounting to torture. Service providers have expressed horror at this latest escalation. It means that Premier Iemma can no longer abandon responsibility to his minister. He had made assurances to Parliament as Health Minister that oblige him to be involved.
NEW HOSPITAL MOVE
Patients have been moved to the new hospital close by the old one, but the conditions have become worse.
In the new prison hospital where the forensic mental patients are held, the conditions are worse than in the old hospital. The patients, nurses, teachers and prison officers all agree. Another hospital run by Justice Health called the Forensic Hospital will be opened either late this year or early 2009, but the prison hospital will still house mental patients, and those who have recovered from acute mental illness.
In the new mental hospital, there are smaller exercise yards, half the education access, less to do and the eighteen hours in the cells isolated from social and therapeutic contact, remains. Only a TV has been added.
E Ward has 15 male sub acute patients (Full)
F Ward has 15 acute male patients (Full)
G Ward has 5 acute female (Full)
5 High dependency male (Full)
30 beds, 6 patients at present
Aged Care 10 beds, not open