Parliament: Questions Kelly's Asked

Hydrotherapy Pool at Flinders Medical Centre

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: While I can’t compete with the Hon. Mr Dawkins on volume, I would like to seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking questions of the Minister for Health regarding the hydrotherapy pool at Flinders Medical Centre.

Leave granted.

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: I understand the new hydrotherapy pool at Flinders Medical Centre opened on Monday 13 November of this year. Concerns remain, from my dealings with people in the community, about the lack of places available for self-help users of the pool, as well as licensees of the pool. I have been advised by a user of the self-help service that the initial bookings for the hydrotherapy pool were booked out within two hours. Many self-help users have now opted to stop using the service due to the limited sessions available and the requirement that sessions must be booked in advance.

The minister has previously advised me that a survey was conducted of self-help pool users. However, one of my constituents, who is a regular user of the pool, did not seem to be aware of this survey. I understand that a number of licensees have also been advised that their licence to use the hydrotherapy pool will not be extended beyond December of this year. I remain concerned that licensees (physiotherapy services that have been contracted by Disability SA) have not been provided with an alternative facility to use. My questions to the minister are:

  1. Prior to the opening of the new hydrotherapy pool, what consultation occurred with self-help users?
  2. If a survey was administered, how was this delivered to self-help users, and how many self-help users completed the survey?
  3. How was it decided how many sessions would be provided to self-help users and what time these sessions would occur?
  4. What assistance is being offered to assist self-help users if they have been unable to secure an online booking due to high demand?
  5. What assistance is being provided to licensees to find alternative facilities?
  6. What communication has occurred between SA Health and Disability SA to ensure that people with disabilities who have been using the services of licensees continue to have access to hydrotherapy?

The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS (Minister for Health, Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse): I thank the honourable member for her question. I am advised that the brand-new hydrotherapy pool that has been built at the Flinders Medical Centre is operational, as the Hon. Kelly Vincent referred to. There were a number of self-help users at the Repat, who, I am advised, will continue to be able to get access to the brand-new hydrotherapy pool at the Flinders Medical Centre, which the Hon. Ms Vincent has already alluded to. The priority for SA Health, of course, is to be able to provide access to existing SA Health patients, and from there, once that demand has been met, to facilitate the pool being accessed by those people who might be former patients or otherwise potentially described as self-help users.

The Southern Adelaide Local Health Network (SALHN) has been actively engaged with self-help users. I am advised there was a number of discussions that took place with those users over a period to try to talk about session times. However, if there are specific concerns or times or lack of access issues that have been raised by some self-help users from the old pool, I would encourage the Hon. Ms Vincent to either pass those details on to us directly or, indeed, I can provide the Hon. Ms Vincent’s office with the contact details of people within SALHN so that we can facilitate a direct conversation between the respective parties to see if their particular concerns can’t be accommodated.

It’s fair to say that the pool has been a hot topic and something that my ministerial office has been paying a lot of attention to, to try to make sure that we can accommodate, as best we can, all those people who have reasonable expectations about getting access to the pool. Another thing I would add is that we will also be actively working with the ACH Group, which is in the process of taking over the hydrotherapy pool, to see if we can come to an arrangement that provides for people getting access to that pool, although it is not operated by SA Health

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: I apologise; I might have missed the end of the sentence there. Can the minister elaborate on what the process has been thus far for deciding how many sessions would be provided for self-referred users of the pool?

The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS (Minister for Health, Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse): I am advised that the Southern Adelaide Local Health Network is able to accommodate up to 340 self-help or community access visits per week at the new pool, which means that those who are currently using it will be able to use the pool one to two times per week; however, at different times. That is a short way of answering the question about availability. There may be issues in terms of different timings and so forth, and that’s why I am happy to facilitate a conversation between the relevant officials and the people who have concerns.

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: For the providers who have been contracted to use the facility—that is, the new pool at the FMC—what arrangements can be made now for their clients? So, if you are the service provider who has been contracted to use this facility and you have clients who can’t access the pool because of high demand, what arrangements should those service providers and clients, alike, make?

The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS (Minister for Health, Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse): Again, I am happy to take that on notice.