CONTINUING PRESENCE: Sue Deacon, general manager of Choice Support Service.
CONTINUING PRESENCE: Sue Deacon, general manager of Choice Support Service. Renee Pilcher

Choice will keep calm and carry on

THE Gympie Times reported on Wednesday that Choice Support Service would be closing its doors, but the organisation is working to maintain a presence in the community.

The outcome of the tender process will mean the majority of the Queensland Health-funded programs and support that Choice had been providing will be taken over by Open Minds or one of the other services involved in the consortium but Choice Support Service is still in the process of exploring options that may enable the service to stay open.

The programs that fell under the tender represented about 50% of the overall programs and funding Choice operated with, leaving the service in an unsustainable position.

President Chris Rice said depending on the outcome of negotiations, services funded by Department of Communities Disability Services may also be transferred to other service providers.

He said Choice would work with Open Minds, Queensland Health and Disability Services over the next few months and assist people who still required support to move over to the new service or to other support available in the community.

Choice provides support to a number of people who have individual funding packages and it is understood these people would keep those packages, however they may in future receive support from another service provider.

The Choice board of management was looking carefully at what options Choice had available to it and would arrange a general meeting with its members to decide what Choice should do in the future, Mr Rice said.

However, there is now a newly formed Gympie Collaborative Network, a joint initiative of the Sunshine Coast Medicare Local, the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service and the community.

The network, chaired by director of Gympie Health Service Leuwin Ferguson, will look at prioritising the health needs of the Gympie Region, using the information gathered by the Sunshine Coast Medicare Local's health needs assessment.

Choice support groups and mental health workshops will continue to be delivered for now.

Gympie Times


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