Fairfield House changes on hold for wider community consultation
About 30 people attended the second of Alfred Health’s community consultations over the proposed changes to its Fairfield House HIV care unit.
The consultations were scheduled following wide spread concerns over the proposed change, set to take place this month, of Fairfield House to an outpatient facility with inpatient services being only offered in the main hospital.
After the earlier meeting in November in which a number of concerned service users walked out over the proposed changes, officials announced today that a more considered community consolation will now take and Alfred Health will not make any decision on the future of Fairfield House until that consultation is complete.
Fairfield House will close for the usual Christmas break and will re-open on January 13, 2014 although no changes will be implemented until after the outcome of the consultation process.
The announcement was made today by Alfred Health Chief Operating Officer Andrew Stripp who was joined by the Alfred Hospital’s Director of the Infectious Diseases Unit Sharon Lewin and Jenny Hoy, Head of HIV Services who explained the proposed changes and detailed how services would be delivered under Alfred Health’s proposed model.
“The consultation process has collapsed,” Stripp said, referring to the earlier meeting.
“What it did not have was a formal structure.”
Both Stripp and Lewin apologised for the lack of consultation. Lewin said that there had not been a lot of change at Fairfield House in the last five years but now was facing big changes and asked that they could move on and examine the proposals.
Stripp explained that Alfred Health is now in discussion with community groups and that guides have been produced to the consultation process and options being considered called Responding to the future needs of the HIV community.
The process will close on December 23, 2013 and a report on the consultation will be published in February. Stipp said that if the consultation process is not sufficient it can be extended.
The guides can be downloaded at the Alfred Health website. Hard copies are available at Fairfield House, the Alfred Outpatients Clinic, Positive Living Centre and elsewhere. The guides explain the background to the proposed changes at Fairfield House, the four options under consideration and how people can provide feedback.