Review confirms Canberra Hospital hydrotherapy pool will have to close

Ian Bushnell 8 August 2019 16

Times up: The Canberra Hospital hydrotherapy pool. File photo.

The Canberra Hospital hydrotherapy pool’s reprieve will be short-lived with the Government confirming on Wednesday that the ageing facility will need to close in a few months.

Users such as Arthritis ACT had campaigned to keep the pool open after the services were expected to move to the new facility at the University of Canberra Hospital, arguing that it was difficult for many with mobility issues to travel to the northside.

A petition backed by the Canberra Liberals saw former Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris back down on closing the pool at the end June, until an appropriate level of access at other suitable locations on the southside could be continued.

On Wednesday (7 August) Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith and representatives from the ACT Health Directorate and Canberra Health Services (CHS), met with Arthritis ACT and its members to present a review of the situation conducted by the Nous Group, which found the significant infrastructure and safety issues with the hydrotherapy pool at Canberra Hospital made it impossible to keep the pool open beyond the next few months.

The Nous Group has made four recommendations including ACT Health review the funding agreement with Arthritis ACT; ACT Health Directorate and CHS collect enough data on the users of hydrotherapy services for health maintenance purposes to assess the best alternatives for the individual; and ACT Health Directorate conduct a study of the costs and benefits and different models for the longer-term establishment of a hydrotherapy facility in the south of Canberra.

The Health Directorate will now work with Arthritis ACT to provide access to suitable clinical assessments for maintenance therapy and to determine the treatment needs of current users of the Canberra Hospital pool.

The Directorate will also continue working with Arthritis ACT on access to suitable hydrotherapy treatment and alternative facilities, as part of considering longer-term hydrotherapy service arrangements in the south of Canberra.

While this work is under way, the current Arthritis ACT hydrotherapy pool user agreement will remain in place ensuring continuity of access for pool users.

Minister Stephen-Smith said the Government was committed to continuing to work with Arthritis ACT.

“The Government recognise the closure of the pool at Canberra Hospital represents the end of an era for people who have used this facility for a long period of time,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

“We have been engaging with the community, and whilst work is ongoing and these matters are not yet fully resolved, we have an ongoing commitment to working together.

“Today’s meeting with Arthritis ACT and its members has been about starting the next phase of work to ensure that their needs can be met.”

Ms Stephen-Smith will provide a further update on the work that is underway in the ACT Legislative Assembly later this month.

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16 Responses to Review confirms Canberra Hospital hydrotherapy pool will have to close
noid noid 4:15 pm 09 Aug 19

Yeah but how was Gungahlin going to get another million dollar play ground…… priorities people.

Trish Roberts Trish Roberts 12:40 pm 09 Aug 19

What the hell is wrong with the ACT Legislative Assembly? Oh, I know; let’s put in Light Rail instead.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 5:19 pm 09 Aug 19

    Trish Roberts and built a new one at the new Belconnen facility.

Gonnie Kelly Gonnie Kelly 12:07 pm 09 Aug 19

Get your facts right ! It is not closing early

    James Daniels James Daniels 12:20 pm 09 Aug 19

    The government have said it will only stay open a few more months, so its unlikely they will have a southside replacement facility up and running by then, and concerns have been expressed that even if all the users of the Canberra Hospital pool could get up to Belconnen, it doesn't have the capacity to look after all of them plus its existing users.

    Mirjam Herzog Mirjam Herzog 4:56 pm 09 Aug 19

    How about approaching King Swim? Don't know about the pool temp requirements, but I have heard Majura has capacity and maybe even Deakin during school hours at least....

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 5:21 pm 09 Aug 19

    James Daniels so if it is so hard for southsiders to come north how did northsiders cope with the trip south in the past?

    Or cope now with the fact most specialist services are in the south. Just today I had to venture across the mystical body of water that many are afraid to cross to go to Garran for a service that is only done at Woden Hospital.

    Susan Loring Susan Loring 9:08 pm 09 Aug 19

    Ashley Wright Exactly! I asked a fellow Northsider how she had coped and she said she just did but when her husband needed the service they decided to pay for a private northside pool. She was fairly bemused by the southsiders complaints. Should us northsiders start a movement to make all the specialist doctors have surgeries in the north as well? I think not. Truly ACT residents need to count their blessings.

Donna Venables Donna Venables 11:53 am 09 Aug 19

How much was the reviewer paid so they could still get it closed down???

Gabriel Spacca Gabriel Spacca 10:50 am 09 Aug 19

I’m a bear of little brain, but I would’ve thought that if they knew that the facility had to shut down that they should’ve been working towards setting up a suitable southside facility long before it was due to close.

But, I’m sure those much more clever than me know why this consultation had to be done relatively late in the piece.

    Zoë Clews Tibbitts Zoë Clews Tibbitts 11:20 am 09 Aug 19

    Continuity of service should be the top priority

    Liam Bourkaggio Liam Bourkaggio 11:33 am 09 Aug 19

    ... there's a brand new service in belconnen.

    Now it means everyone travels north instead of everyone travelling South.

    It's shitty, but that's how these things tend to go.

    James Daniels James Daniels 12:18 pm 09 Aug 19

    Liam Bourke I read something earlier that said the new facility couldn't cope with its existing users plus all those using the Canberra Hospital pool, so closing it without a southside replacement could see people unable to access hydrotherapy due to capacity constraints.

    Tania Shaw Tania Shaw 9:14 pm 10 Aug 19

    Gabriel Spacca they did, they built a lovely facility northside, only 15-20 mins travel. Not a perfect solution but certainly not nothing or no planning

Zoë Clews Tibbitts Zoë Clews Tibbitts 10:10 am 09 Aug 19

Screw the public transport system and strip out services like this. This government is a bloody joke.

gooterz gooterz 8:12 am 09 Aug 19

A government of its word.

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