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Labor lets down people with disabilities and the people of the West

Labor’s Transforming Health plan is shaping up as a disaster for people in need of rehabilitation, according to disability advocates, crossbench parties and the Opposition.

Joint Media Release with Craig Clarke (ParaQuad SA)
and Hon Kelly Vincent (Dignity for Disability).

The Government’s plan to relocate the Spinal Injuries Unit from Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre to The Queen Elizabeth Hospital will see:

  • The loss of a physical education department and essential equipment, including the existing gymnasium
  • Services being squeezed into buildings with about one quarter of the internal space
  • Loss of an open campus which facilitates mobility and family time
  • Beds in the unit fall from 25 to 16.

“Staff and consumers at the Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre were given clear and repeated assurances that the Spinal Unit at TQEH would have equivalent or better facilities and accommodation than Hampstead. They are not – this is a breach of trust,” said President of ParaQuad SA Craig Clarke.

“This is not about a basketball court and a pool – this is about the removal of an essential component of quality rehabilitation following a spinal injury – physical education for independence and quality of life; in the face of overwhelming evidence that this will be to the detriment of a person’s health and will cost the health system.

“Further, there has been no advice yet as to where the existing wheelchair maintenance workshop will be situated, nor the outpatient department.”

“Physical strength and conditioning therapies are a key element in the recovery pathway for so many. The Government’s failure to listen will inevitably lead to poor outcomes, a more expensive retrofit at a later stage and increased costs,” said Dignity for Disability MLC Kelly Vincent.

“In a typical case, failure to provide appropriate rehabilitation can double the cost of lifetime support.

“The open campus is widely treasured as a base to develop mobility skills and a secure, friendly place to engage family.”

“The Government’s plans will see 62 beds in general wards displaced with no suggestion of where people in the West will need to go to access the services,” said Shadow Health Minister Stephen Wade.

“We fear that these beds won’t be replaced – that this is just another instalment in Labor’s plan to close hundreds of hospital beds.”