Repatriation General Hospital

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS (15:42): My question is to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing. Will the minister advise the council of the government's plan for the hydrotherapy pool at the Repat hospital?

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order! Let the minister answer. We still have time to get to another crossbencher.

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Let the minister answer. Minister.

The Hon. S.G. WADE (Minister for Health and Wellbeing) (15:43): I know that the honourable member who asked the question will be tantalised by the fresh information that will be provided to the house by this answer. After all, I can hear the member now; he is asking himself, 'When will the first patients be able to access that facility?' The answer to that question, of course, is 28 May, less than two weeks away.

Less than two weeks away, we will have 20 patients, who are currently using ViTA V—it's ViTA V; it might be ViTA 5; I am not sure what the 'V' is for. Anyway, these are public hospital patients who are currently being housed in the southern part of the ViTA complex. So, the barmy situation that I inherited as minister is that the former Labor government closed the Repat pool and we had about 20 rehabilitation patients in the southern part of the ViTA building. They are being bussed up the hill to the Flinders Medical Centre pool because they weren't willing to operate a pool which, as you would have seen on Channel 9, Channel 2 and goodness knows how many other networks on Sunday, was being maintained.

It was ready, willing and able to take patients, but no, this spiteful Labor government was willing to inconvenience inpatients on the very precinct that the pool existed. On 28 May, we are going to stop the barmy bus. We are going to have inpatients from the Repat site getting access to hydrotherapy pools 100 metres or so—

Members interjecting:

The Hon. S.G. WADE: Sorry, through you, Mr President—the barmy bus will stop because we will have patients being able to access a pool on the same precinct. My understanding is that, on 28 May, it will also give the opportunity for people who have received acute services at the Flinders Medical Centre and other parts of the health network to get rehabilitation support.

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: Point of order, Mr President: it's not parliamentary for the minister on his feet to have his back towards the chair. We reminded him of this last week. He should not turn his back on—

The PRESIDENT: Thank you so much for your concern for me, Hon. Mr Hunter. Minister, continue your answer.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I thank the honourable member for his coaching. I am trying to do better. I will try to do better. That was 28 May.

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Minister, do you have any more in response?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: Yes, sorry. The point being that 28 May was stage 1, because what happens on 1 July is what I would call stage 2 of the reactivation of the hydrotherapy pool. We will have the joy—and honestly, the joy—to welcome back people whose services were basically closed down as a result of the callous former Labor government.

On Sunday, it was my pleasure to join the Premier in celebrating the fact that YWCA Encore will be able to return to delivering important services to women recovering from breast cancer as a result of the actions of the Marshall Liberal government to reactivate the hydrotherapy pool. The YWCA Encore group is only one of a number of community groups that were displaced. Of course, there will have to be discussions with those groups as to how many of them want to come back.

The Encore experience was interesting. They had their last class in early December 2017. In spite of the former government's approach that, 'There are lots of pools in the south, go find another pool', that group did not secure an appropriate site. Let's remember the situation for women recovering from breast cancer. It can be quite a confronting experience to go into a public pool and engage in rehabilitation programs, and they did not find an acceptable site—they did not find a site where it could work.

So, basically that Encore program has not been offered to women in the south since December last year. It's only going to be possible by the actions of the Marshall Liberal government delivering on our commitment to reactivate the hydrotherapy pool. That service is continuing to be available in the north and we will continue to make sure that that service and others are available in the south. The fact of the matter is that the hydrotherapy pool is a very good asset. Physiotherapists have told me that they regard it as one of the best hydrotherapy pools in the state. It has all of the weight-bearing lifts that a hydrotherapy pool might need, graded access and, for that matter, disability accessible facilities.

I am proud to be part of a government that is delivering on its commitments but doubly proud to be part of a government that is delivering on commitments to provide better community health care, not just in the acute phase but right across the continuum of care and right across the community.