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The day that should have “never ever” come

Today is a double day of shame as the shut down of the Repatriation General Hospital begins.

State Labor is closing the Repat when it promised it would “never, ever” do so.

“Key public health assets are being abandoned when they are still desperately needed by sick and ageing South Australians,” said Shadow Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade.

“The closure of the Repat is a dark day for public health in South Australia.

“Closing the Repat was a central component of the Weatherill Labor Government’s disastrous and discredited Transforming Health agenda which will wreak havoc across on the South Australian health system for years to come.

“The loss of the Repat will be keenly felt by the many hundreds of thousands of South Australians who have worked or been treated at the hospital since it accepted its first patient in 1942 during the Second World War.

“The veterans community fought long and hard to save the Repat, gathering more than 120,000 signatures and spending many long, cold nights sleeping on the steps of Parliament House in an effort to persuade Jay Weatherill to honour Labor’s promise to “never, ever” close the Repat.

“With 90 per cent of the Repat’s patients being drawn from the local community its closure will leave a massive hole in health services.

“Already Southern residents are feeling the impact of the closure of the hydrotherapy pool, with sessions at the new site falling well short of demand.

“The Weatherill Government’s bed closure plans have proven to be disastrous – the Government Is now privatizing public health, hiring beds and operating theatres in private hospitals.

“The closure of the Repat will see some a number of relatively new, purpose-built, multi-million dollar facilities flogged off in a shocking waste of taxpayer dollars.

“Ward 18, for example, was built around a decade ago at a cost of $10 million. It would make an excellent base for a service for South Australians with severe dementia and associated challenging behaviours.”