House of Assembly: Wednesday, April 10, 2024


Millicent Hospital, Allied Health Services

Mr McBRIDE (MacKillop) (14:51): My question is to the Minister for Health. What is the future of allied health services at the Millicent hospital? With your leave and the leave of the house, I will explain.

Leave granted.

Mr McBRIDE: Therapy for Life Physiotherapy has been based in a dedicated physio room at the hospital for 20 years. They have recently stopped providing services there due to uncertainty surrounding their tenure.

The Hon. C.J. PICTON (Kaurna—Minister for Health and Wellbeing) (14:52): I thank the member for MacKillop for his strong interest in health; I think he is going for a record of number of questions on health in a row. I am aware of the issue that has been identified in the local paper in relation to Therapy for Life Physiotherapy at the Millicent hospital. This was recently reported.

Therapy for Life, I am advised by the Limestone Coast Local Health Network, had been engaged two days a week within a dedicated space within Millicent hospital, and shared the space with several other functions. The local health network advised that the arrangement had been longstanding, and that earlier this year, they started initial conversations with Therapy for Life to establish a formal agreement. I am advised that these conversations never progressed, as the employee who was delivering the service through Therapy for Life has since been engaged for an alternative role with Flinders University, delivering an allied health course in Mount Gambier, which is obviously an important element of teaching in the area.

However, the good news for the area is that physiotherapy services continue to be provided at Millicent hospital. Country Health Connect are actually providing, I am advised, more physiotherapy services than were previously provided by Therapy for Life, and this has been the case since February. The Limestone Coast Local Health Network are continuing to review how they can broaden and improve allied health and community nursing services for the region. There are no plans to remove allied health services from Millicent hospital.

Therefore, this is an area where we are expanding services locally. There was certainly, I am advised, no element where this was ending the arrangement from the hospital or the local health network. Obviously, the workforce issues for that private provider led to that, but we have been able to step up and provide more services locally.