Ashfield community to gather at the Wesley Mission Hospital before its permanent closure

Ashfield community to gather at the Wesley Mission Hospital before its permanent closure
Image: Wesley Mission Hospital, Ashfield



Devastated locals will gather this evening at the Wesley Mission Hospital, which has provided vital mental health care and drug and alcohol addiction support to the Ashfield community for seventy years, as its doors permanently close. 

Those at the gathering will call on the Mission to repurpose the facility for the community good and “not to just sell it off to the highest bidder,” according to a statement released by Labor Councillor Jess D’Arienzo from Inner West Council.

Wesley Mission decided in March to shut its Ashfield and Kogarah hospitals on April 12 after failing to sell the services to another health provider. The not-for-profit health provide will sell the empty buildings and land instead, potentially for millions of dollars.

The decision was made to the overwhelming dismay of the community, for whom the hospital was a safe place in a time of increasing stress and uncertainty.

Councillor D’Arienzo said, “Wesley Mission needs to show compassion with their decision on the next steps with this hospital.” 

“We are so disappointed that the decision by Wesley Mission to close the facility was made without any consultation with NSW Health or any attempt to secure financial support for the facility,” she continued.

“The hundreds of patients and staff were also given no notice of the decision.”

The Ashfield hospital, which has 38 beds, has provided services for people with depression and anxiety, as well as drug and alcohol addiction, since 1954.

The Kogarah location has been running since 2014 and has 30 beds.

In a statement from March 7, Wesley Mission said, “Both hospitals have been operating with low occupancies and at a significant loss for some time, despite the best efforts of our staff team to improve their financial viability.”

“Wesley Mission is in communication with patients and a range of other mental health service providers about assisting those patients who may require ongoing care after April 12,” the statement continued.

But Cr D’Arienzo asserted the closure could not have come at a worse time, saying “With mental health facilities in high demand, this is not the time to shut down such an important community resource.” 

The property was originally gifted by the Waddell family to the Wesley Mission in 1946 with the intent that the 25-bedroom mansion be turned into a mental health hospital.  

The Federal and State Governments both contributed funding to extend the building and scope of the service it could offer the community. 

Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne said the loss of the hospital, particularly during a time of critical short supply of mental health beds, will have a “devastating impact on the health of vulnerable patients.”

“Wesley Mission were gifted this property and they have a moral obligation to make use of it for the public good, not just flog it off to developers,” he said.

“Religious based charities like Wesley have been gifted billions of dollars worth of public land over the decades and that comes with a duty to maintain these assets and deliver a social justice dividend if they are repurposed.”


You May Also Like

Comments are closed.