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12 months on … RENEW the Repat – don’t close it!

Opponents of Labor’s Transforming Health plan today marked the anniversary of its announcement by calling for the Repat Hospital to be renewed, not closed.

Twelve months ago today, as part of its controversial health cuts plan, Labor announced that the iconic Repat would be closed, three emergency departments would be downgraded and cuts made to metropolitan hospitals.

Twelve months later the community opposition to the closure of the Repat remains strong.

The Weatherill Government must stop its campaign to destroy the Repat.

The Weatherill Government must broaden the current EOI process and use it to bring together partners who can maintain and renew the Repat as a health facility with a focus on ageing and veterans’ health.

Given that Expressions of Interests for the Repat site closed at the end of December, the Weatherill Government needs to immediately reveal the bids and broaden the criteria to allow proposals which involve the co-location of SA Health services.

“Last year, the Hon Martin Hamilton-Smith – Minister for Veterans Affairs and Acting Health Minister at the time – promised that the Veteran community and the public would ‘have the opportunity to have their say’ on the proposals outlined in the Expression of Interest submissions,” Shadow Health Minister Stephen Wade said.1

“The Weatherill Government must start honouring its promises.”

The closure of the Repat would see the loss of significant expertise in ageing and veteran’s health, including in the delivery of PTSD services (Ward 17).

The Weatherill Government’s current plan to rebuild Ward 17 at Glenside is a downgrade of the services offered.

90% of Repat patients are community patients – the closure of the Repat would have serious, negative and long-term impacts for the health of the community.

Adelaide’s public hospital system is already overstretched, particularly Flinders Medical Centre, and won’t be able to absorb the Repat’s current workload:

  • net loss of 160 hospital beds
  • 170,000 outpatient attendances per annum
  • 2,000 transfers from the Flinders Medical Centre (FMC) each year
  • 25% of the orthopaedic and urological elective surgery performed in Adelaide’s public hospital system is done at the Repat.

There have been no announcements of the future location of many of the Repat’s specialist services, including orthopaedics, ophthalmology, urology, rheumatology, sleep disorders, respirology and diabetes.

Closing the Repat means abandoning $46m of capital works at the hospital in the last 13 years.

1 Martin Hamilton-Smith, Media release, 21 April 2015, “Repat site retained as health precinct”