13 Mar 2010

More calls to keep youth health centre open

12:31 pm on 13 March 2010

The Mental Health Foundation says young people will miss out on help if a free youth health centre in Christchurch closes.

Facing bankruptcy, the 198 centre may have to close at the end of April.

A Mental Health Foundation spokesperson, Freedom Preston-Clark, says that the centre, which is open for 30 hours each week, gets 7000 visits a year and that if it closes, many young people will miss out on important mental health and drug and alcohol services.

Ms Preston-Clark says the service is of a high standard and has been used as a model for other youth health centres around the country.

'Immensely helpful and supportive' - GP

Christchurch GP Richard McCubbin says closure would be a huge loss to the community. It's an immensely helpful and supportive service, he says, and every effort should be made by all parties to keep the centre open.

The Canterbury District Health Board says it has already tried to work with the centre to find a solution, and no more funds are available.

The board says some of the centre's patients are also enrolled with a GP, which means they've been subsidised twice in the past.

But the centre's founder, Dr Sue Bagshaw, says a lot of its patients don't go to the doctor because they can't afford it, and the closure would put pressure on other health services.