A former care home next door to an elite private school will be converted into a 32-bed mental health hospital despite protests from parents.
Alphington Grammar School staff and parents lodged more than 200 complaints against Melbourne‘s Yarra City Council arguing the facility could put the students in danger.
But on Tuesday, the council voted unanimously in favour of opening the medical facility, saying it will be ‘low-risk’ and ‘exclude patients who display emergency psychotic behaviours’.
School principal Dr Vivianne Nikou told the Herald Sun she worried students and parents will experience anxiety over the opening.
Alphington Grammar School staff and parents lodged more than 200 complaints against Melbourne’s Yarra City Council arguing the facility could put the students in danger
‘This is a facility with patients that need our care and understanding, but the facilities are right on the boundary.
‘It’s not that we want to stigmatise mental health because there wouldn’t be a principal that hasn’t recognised the increase in generalised anxiety disorders and mental health issues amongst our student body and the staff.
‘But we’ve got a school right next door. How do we deal with the issues that are going to affect the school if the patients are allowed to walk through the school on a redundant piece of road that leads to nowhere but a rather drastic fall into the river?’.
Speaking at the Tuesday’s meeting she added: ‘Sub-acute patients can turn into acute patients very swiftly.
The hospital will house up to 30 inpatients and will also provide services for day patients (stock image)
‘Students in primary school particularly are at a highly impressionable age, and interactions with strangers can be very detrimental to their own psychological development.’
The school caters for 520 students from prep to Year 12 with fees of up to $20,000 for Australians and $39,000 for International students.
The hospital will house up to 30 inpatients and will also provide services for day patients.
Councillor Anab Mohamud, the chairwoman of Tuesday night’s planning meeting, argued there was a ‘high demand’ for support.
‘I do want to reiterate that we’re talking about members of the community – that could be our kids, our parents, our loved ones, and these are sub-acute patients who do need services in our community,’ she said.
The facility will be run by HealtheCare, a private provider.
Their parent company Australian Unity bought the site in December for $14.75 million.
The hospital will exclude those with a primary diagnosis of substance abuse, and cater for patients fighting post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression.