East Perth turning into outpatient ghetto
East Perth turning into outpatient 'ghetto'

A lack of accommodation for out-of-town patients being treated at Royal Perth Hospital has been blamed for turning part of East Perth into what some residents have described as a "ghetto".

Residents around Wellington Square say they have to call police up to seven times a night and clean up soiled bedding, excrement and litter because of the high number of homeless people.

Welfare agencies say patients from regional WA, including many seeking renal dialysis because of substance abuse, often cannot afford housing in Perth.

The State Government is under pressure from City of Perth to review the subsidies program for patients travelling to Perth to make it easier to access affordable and culturally-appropriate housing. There are also calls to improve regional accommodation where dialysis is offered.

Kris Halliday, who co-ordinates the Salvation Army's Perth street outreach program, said it was concerned about indigenous people being sent from remote communities for treatment without viable accommodation.

"Over and over again we hear from people at Wellington Square that they do not want to be there, that being in the city away from country and family is causing them damage," he said. "What we are hoping to see is that more people can be treated on home country."

He said the patient-assisted travel scheme, which provides travel and accommodation subsidies, often did not cover costs.

Appropriate housing was also not always available, which led to indigenous people "from the absolute desert" being housed in multi- storey buildings with no cooking facilities and nowhere for friends and family to gather.

Perth Council wants the Government to reviews the patient travel scheme, consider funding a night shelter and boost funding for existing services.

Health Minister Kim Hames said the State and Federal governments were expanding dialysis services and accompanying accommodation in remote areas.

The West Australian

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