The Western Australia (WA) Government has signed a three-year lease agreement for a mental health clinic in Cockburn, which was previously operated by Bethesda, a specialist palliative care organisation. 

This move aims to bolster public mental health services in the region’s southern suburbs.  

The leased clinic in Cockburn will now be operated by the South Metropolitan Health Service (SMHS), with services set to commence gradually in the upcoming weeks. 

Under the management of SMHS, the clinic will initially offer two floors dedicated to a women’s mental health facility, emphasising eating disorder services.  

Additionally, mixed-gender Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) and addiction withdrawal services will be available at the purpose-built clinic.  

It is anticipated that the clinic will continue to provide several existing outpatient psychiatric services, including implementing specialised care models for veterans and first responders. 

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The facility currently has 75 beds and includes a mental health wellness and recovery centre that offers outpatient therapies and specialist consulting suites.  

Earlier this year, Bethesda confirmed its plans to cease operations at its private mental health clinic by 23 February 2024.  

In preparation for the transition, SMHS has recruited staff from the Bethesda clinic to join the public health service. 

The WA Government, which cited improving mental healthcare access as one of its key objectives, said that it will continue to provide enhanced healthcare services in the southern metropolitan region through  

Fiona Stanley Hospital, Fremantle Hospital, and Rockingham General Hospital.  

Furthermore, construction is underway for an additional 40 mental health beds at Fremantle Hospital, part of an A$63m ($41m) redevelopment project. 

Mental Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson said: “The Cockburn Clinic is a state-of-the-art purpose-built facility that, under this agreement, will continue to benefit Western Australian patients in the southern suburbs and across the broader metropolitan area. 

“All existing staff have been given the opportunity to take up roles with SMHS to work at the clinic or other important public health care facilities.”