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Rachel Foster should be considered for aged-care - SSH June 2006

A Melbourne-based company has approached the Redfern-Waterloo Authority (RWA)expressing an interest in operating an aged-care facility on the site of the former Rachel Foster Hospital in Redfern’s Pitt Street reports Alice Mulheron in the South Sydney Herald June 2006.

Graham Croft, director of the Croft Consulting Group, confirmed to The South Sydney Herald that they are interested in developing the site as an aged-care facility.

The company is awaiting a response from the RWA.

The Victorian company was approached by people “closely aligned with the RWA” to consider operating a privately run, publicly funded aged-care facility on the grounds of the hospital, Mr Croft said. “We were just asked to submit [a proposal]. They may well go to public tender – I think they are really canvassing a lot of options for that site”.

The Rachel Foster Hospital, which has been closed since 2003, would be rezoned for residential use under the RWA’s Draft Built Environment Plan.

80 year old Redfern resident Di Carr told The South Sydney Herald: “I’ve lived at least 30 years in the inner city and like many others in Redfern-Waterloo I may need to move into a nursing home. I have no intention of leaving the area if I can help it. It’s an outrage that the Rachel Foster site has been earmarked for housing, probably for a bunch of North Shore yuppies when it’s obvious that the area needs a nursing home.”

Redfern GP Jan Duggin said that Redfern was in desperate need of an aged-care facility. “We haven’t got a nursing home or high level aged-care facility in Redfern. The nearest is in Surry Hills near Central”, she said.

Dr Duggin believes that a public or church run facility would be most appropriate to Redfern. “A privately run home wouldn’t be afforded by our population, as most of them are pensioners”, she said.

She noted that it was important for the elderly everywhere to remain in their local areas. “They have all the community resources they’ve been used to - their doctor, so their medical resources are here, the home nurses, community health facilities, and their friends and contacts”, she said. “They know their way around. A lot of the elderly in Redfern have lived here for 20-30 years.”

A spokesperson for Frank Sartor, Minister for Redfern-Waterloo, said the RWA was not in a position to comment on issues relating to health or aged-care.