Paved paradise, and put up a parking lot: Perth land squeeze forces out OSHC
An outside school hours care (OSHC) service is at risk of closure, leaving 150 families to find alternative care in an “already stretched” market, following the demolition of playground space to make way for a cancer centre, PerthNow has reported.
The OSHC service, located at the QEII Medical Centre site, caters specifically to healthcare workers in the precinct, and has lost its playground space to make way for the new centre, being built by landholders, Ramsay Health Care. As a result, PerthNow said, the facility’s overall capacity had dropped from 60 to 28, leaving families claiming that this renders the service unviable.
PerthNow quotes a spokeswoman for the board of the Health Services Family Association (HSFA), which operates the OSHC services, as saying she hoped all parties could “come to a solution to continue providing quality care for our children”.
HSFA are reportedly in negotiations with North Metropolitan Health Services (NMHS), as the sub-lessor, QEII Medical Centre Trust, and Ramsay Health Care to determine if alternative land can be found to ensure the centre can remain operating at full capacity. The deadline is said to be later this month.
Speaking with PerthNow, a spokeswoman for the HSFA parent action group, which was formed to prevent the centre’s closure, said almost half the families using the centre were nurses, doctors and healthcare workers who relied heavily on it because of its accessibility and flexibility for shift workers.
Service user, registered nurse and single mother Chrysten Fitzclarence spoke with PerthNow and said she doubted whether she could keep working if the centre closed as there was no alternative that provided a before-school care whose service was tied to her five-year-old daughter’s school.
“This (uncertainty over the centre’s future) has been really stressful for me and it’s disappointing that the centre is not seen as a priority,” she reportedly said.
NMHS Acting Chief Executive Tony Dolan is quoted as saying “NMHS recognises the benefits of the services provided by HSFA, and will continue to support and advocate for its continued use of the building that resides on the QEIIMC site.” He clarified that the playground, which enabled 32 additional children to participate in the OSHC program, was not an official part of the QEII medical centre site, meaning the continued use of the land was not within the control of QEII or the NMHS.