FURTHER QUESTION: REPATRIATION GENERAL HOSPITAL

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS (15:13): My question is directed to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing. Will the minister update the council on the recent steps the state government has taken as it continues to reactivate the Repat site?

The Hon. S.G. WADE (Minister for Health and Wellbeing) (15:13): I thank the honourable member for his question. The Marshall government is committed to reactivating the Repat site as a genuine health precinct. We will deliver a first-class health and wellbeing precinct that caters to the growing health needs of South Australians. I am pleased to inform the council that the government will be opening 20 new beds at the Repat by the end of the year. The beds are specifically designed for long-stay patients who have completed their medical treatment but are currently forced to stay in acute hospital beds while they are waiting for out-of-hospital support.

We have also announced that a further 20 beds, originally scheduled to close by December 2018, will remain open within the VITA precinct on the Repat site. The 40 beds are a much-needed boost for our health system. The Repat precinct is a far more appropriate environment for patients recovering from medical care who are awaiting placement through a commonwealth scheme such NDIS, or an aged-care placement, rather than sitting in a hospital bed in an acute setting.

It's a better outcome for patients, who will be in a much more conducive environment for their care, and it's a better outcome for acute patients and people coming into hospitals through the emergency department. I have been provided with estimates that for every one of those acute beds that is freed up 10 more acute patients can be accommodated. With 20 new beds in the system, it means we can expect around 200 patients to be able to access a bed that would otherwise have been unavailable.

Being in an acute bed when you don't need acute hospital treatment is bad for you and it's bad for the system. Our health system needs the Repat reactivated and South Australians want the site reactivated. We know South Australians want this site reactivated because, unlike the former government, we have listened to the community. We listened to the dozens of veterans and their supporters, who spent five winter months on the steps of parliament. We listened to the more than 120,000 signatories of the Save the Repat petition. We listened to the community's demands to retain the Repat site—and this government continues to listen.

More than 1,500 members of the community participated in or responded to the community and stakeholder engagement process to develop a master plan for the reactivation of the Repat site, which commenced in August this year and closed in mid-September. We have released the report from the Repat consultation, which was compiled by an independent community engagement team. The overwhelming consensus is that the Repat site needs to be reactivated. The Marshall government is dedicated to listening to clinicians, the community and key stakeholders as we develop a master plan for the site. The plan will be released in coming months and will be available for public comment.

As part of our early activation of the site, we have ensured the Repat Memorial Chapel remains a place for the community to honour our veterans. I will be attending the Repat's traditional Remembrance Day service this Sunday, and I am delighted that, as we celebrate the centenary of Armistice, we have secured the future of the Repat health precinct, with commemoration of veterans at its heart.