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End of the line for Repat

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The final patients from Adelaide’s Repatriation General Hospital will be moved today ahead of the closure of the facility.

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About 110 patients and 675 staff have been moved into new facilities at the Flinders Medical Centre and the Noarlunga Hospital over the past two weeks.

“Today marks the day where the last public patient services will stop being delivered at the Repat site,” Health Minister Peter Malinauskas said.

He said the move of patients, staff and volunteers had proceeded smoothly.

The Opposition, however, said today was a “dark day” for the state, and called on the Government to delay the finalisation of the site’s sale until after the state election.

“Our clinical teams in the South have done an outstanding job managing the patient transfer from the Repat and I’d like to thank all the staff and clinicians involved,” Malinauskas said.

The move had bought mixed emotions for staff and patients, said Dr Craig Whitehead, director of the rehabilitation ward.

“I know from the rehabilitation moves we had some patients incredibly excited to get there and we have had some of our other patients who were a bit sad to leave,” Whitehead said.

The hospital’s closure has been a controversial part of the State Government’s health reforms, with the opposition and a number of community groups critical of the decision to close the hospital in Adelaide’s southern suburbs.

It is the second big move of hospital patients in the state this year following the successful transition of about 300 patients from the old Royal Adelaide Hospital to the new $2.4 billion Royal Adelaide in September.

Decommissioning of the hospital’s buildings will take place over the coming weeks before the site is handed over to the not-for-profit ACH Group in early December.

However, the Opposition wants that process delayed until after the March 2018 state election.

“This deal needs to be put on hold until after the state election in March next year so South Australian voters have an opportunity to express their views on whether Adelaide can afford to lose this valuable health asset,” said Liberal health spokesman Stephen Wade.

Wade said a Liberal Government would retain the Repat as a “health precinct”, because the southern hospital network could not cope without the hospital’s beds.

“Prior to Transforming Health, the Repat was a powerhouse for elective surgery in this state and the loss of the Repat’s elective surgery capacity and Labor’s mishandling of the opening of the new RAH has seen overdue elective surgery numbers balloon to 1500 – four times the number that were overdue this time last year.”

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