Millicent physiotherapy services expanded

Millicent physiotherapy services expanded

The State Government has significantly increased the amount of physiotherapy sessions provided at Millicent and District Hospital.

Long-serving private physiotherapy firm Therapy for Life ceased its twice-weekly sessions at the hospital in February citing uncertainty about ongoing access to the dedicated rooms.

This action was front page news in The SE Voice a week ago prompting Independent MP for MacKillop Nick McBride to ask a question to Health Minister Chris Picton in the House of Assembly.

The Minister referred to The SE Voice in his response.

“Limestone Coast Local Health Network advised the arrangement had been longstanding, and that earlier this year, they started initial conversations with Therapy for Life to establish a formal agreement,” Minister Picton said.

“I am advised 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.”

Ahead of the Minister’s statement, the physiotherapy issue was briefly discussed at the April monthly meeting of Wattle Range Council.

Councillor Richard Casidy represents the council on the Millicent Health Advisory Council and said the departure of Therapy for Life ha not been raised at its March meeting.

This prompted a sharp response from Mayor Des Noll who said more questions needed to be asked of the Limestone Coast Local Health Network.

“What services are being dismantled from our hospitals?” Mayor Noll said.

“The Millicent Health Advisory Council gets involved in discussions about car parks but not about medical services.”

Cr David Walshaw said regional health authorities advised in 2013 that obstetric services would be temporarily suspended at Millicent Hospital but they never returned.

“People now have to make a 100km round trip to Mount Gambier for physiotherapy,” Cr Walshaw said.

“The erosion of services in smaller hospitals does not help.”

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