The heated pool and spa at Murray Bridge Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital will remain open and operational if the State Liberals are elected in March next year, Shadow Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade has announced.
Visiting the hospital on Tuesday afternoon with Member for Hammond Adrian Pederick, Mr Wade said the current state of the pool and spa facilities highlight the impact of a decade of neglect of country health facilities under the Weatherill Labor Government.
“For too long this city-centric Weatherill Government has neglected our regional communities and health services,” he said.
“The hydrotherapy pool and rehabilitation facilities at the Murray Bridge Hospital are important for the residents of Murray Bridge and the Mallee region.”
Murray Bridge was not the only regional centre where hydrotherapy facilities were under threat, according to Mr Wade, and he said that needed to change.
Mr Pederick said the announcement would be welcome news after years of continuing issues with the heated pool and spa.
“I have been inundated with concerns and complaints from residents who are understandably frustrated and angry that they can’t access these facilities,” he said.
“Health funds can’t just be spent in the city.”
After a six-week closure period over last summer, a petition began circulating and eventually gathered over 200 signatures to keep the facilities open.
Mr Pederick wrote a letter to former Health Minister Jack Snelling, urging SA Health to find a way to make the pool more viable.
“The Weatherill Government’s disgraceful decision to close the pool for an extended period meant that patients, families and other residents in the community couldn’t access the pool during an important part of the year,” Mr Pederick said.
SA Health is currently responsible for the facilities, which had both been closed or extended periods of time due to maintenance works.
Acting regional director Riverland Mallee Coorong Tanya Lehmann said Country Health SA recognises the health, social and emotional benefits the facilities deliver.
“We are continuing discussions with key stakeholders including the local council, members of the Health Advisory Council and the local MP, to increase the number of people who use the facilities,” she said.
“A meeting is scheduled with invited stakeholders in the near future at Murray Bridge Hospital.”