By JONATHON HOWARD
CAPTION: (Mental Health) Front, from left: Warwick RSL secretary manager Jo Schwenke, president Mavis Cooper, treasurer Greg Newey; back from left: Southern Downs Regional Council Mayor Peter Blundell, Member for Southern Downs Lawrence Springborg, senior vice president Jim Samios, junior vice president Cliff Farrell.
CAPTION: (Mental Health3) Southern Downs Mental Health Service staff include, from left, adult case nurse Kristie Lambert, adult case nurse Claire Simpson, Phycologist Lewis Williams, adult team leader Mark Laird, adult case nurse Mark Dicken and adult adult case manager Dayle Osburn.
CAPTION: (Mental Health4) Inset:The official Southern Downs Mental Health Service plaque to official open the refurbished Old Oaks building.
STAFF at Warwick new Southern Downs Mental Health Service ward have described their working environment as like a “breath of fresh air”, after the Old Oaks building underwent a major refurbishment to enhance mental health treatment to more than 100 clients.
When board members from the Warwick RSL Memorial Club noticed the “shabby” conditions of the previous mental health ward last year, they knew it was time to act.
Warwick RSL secretary manager Jo Schwenke was the first to recommend the refurbishment to the RSL board.
After receiving Mrs Schwenke’s recommendation, the board decided to allocate $120,000 from community funding pool to refurbish the Old Oaks building.
According to adult case manager Dayle Osborn, the previous building, MacArthur House, which was the old nurse’s quarters, was simply not designed for mental health treatment.
“The previous building made the workday very fragmented, as it was very separate from the main hospital, but we were still able to provide a strong working environment,” Mrs Osborn said.
“However, the new refurbishment of the Old Oaks building means we can be closer to the main hospital, it’s also a lot more streamlined and brings the whole team together.”
The Darling Downs Hospital and Health Board also complimented the RSL’s generous donation by supplying additional funds where needed and support during the refurbishment.
The official opening on Thursday, 30 May, was a full house with Member for Southern Downs Lawrence Springborg and Warwick RSL President Mavis Cooper unveiling a ceremonial plaque and announcing the refurbished facility open.
Patientshave also provided positive feedback on the new building, some who have been receiving treatment for more than 10 years.
“Clients love the new building,” Mrs Osborn said.
“As well as a fresh new waiting room they also have more space and better consultation rooms.”
The theme for the official opening was developing strong “partnerships” with community groups and health services now and into the future.