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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 6 Hansard (23 June) . . Page.. 2473..


MR CORBELL (continuing):

(d) that the trust agreement with the NRMA over the use of RILU specifically contains a provision that after five years the parties to the agreement can initiate a review of the agreement; and

(e) that any plans to relocate rehabilitation services to other areas will only occur after formal consultation is completed with consumers, carers, staff and other stakeholders including the NRMA Road Safety Trust;

(2) agrees that the Minister will report to the Assembly of the outcome of that consultation.".

MR SPEAKER: I would like to acknowledge the presence in the gallery of students from St Thomas the Apostle, Kambah. Welcome.

MS TUCKER (11.30): Mr Corbell, it is okay: I was listening in my office to you shouting and I have heard what you have had to say. Mr Smyth has brought on this motion today in an effort to head off what appears to be moves by the Minister for Health to permanently merge the functions of the Rehabilitation and Independent Living Unit at Garran with Ward 12B in the Canberra Hospital. This would free up the space at RILU for use as a transitional care facility for older people who have been assessed as needing nursing home care. The minister has not made these plans entirely clear. I understand, following discussions my office had with the manager of the project, that this is because the analysis was still under way. There has been a study of rehabilitation services in the ACT, which is still awaiting analysis of the need. It is not yet clear from that study whether or not rehabilitation services in the ACT require the existence of RILU.

In this situation there seems to be a lot of pressure to establish the transitional care facility and that seems to be pushing on RILU, before the work has been done, and on the role of RILU. Although there is clearly a need for transitional care, this is about getting people who do not require acute care out of hospital and about giving people the best chance of returning their lives as closely as possible to their normal setting. However, the need for transitional care should not and does not mean that RILU is not needed. That is really the crux of this matter. I have heard what Mr Corbell has said, but it appears-I admit that it is difficult to get a clear view at this stage-that RILU is being pushed from outside. The minister's spokesperson is quoted as saying in the City Chronicle of yesterday:

With the introduction of new models of care, RILU's occupancy rate has fallen over the past 2 years and inpatients requiring rehabilitation services can be accommodated in 12B.

On the first point-that is, the occupancy rate has fallen due to the use of new models of care-I do not know whether we have been given the evidence to support that this is the reason. I have heard convincing reports from people who have worked in the area that there have been workplace issues which have led to long-term expert staff leaving the unit and seeking work elsewhere. I understand that this has included the three top physios associated with the unit. I understand that there has also been a reduction in staff


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