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Tuesday, 12 November 1974
Page: 2281

Senator JESSOP (South Australia) -I refer' to a recent announcement that the Minister for Repatriation and Compensation (Senator Wheeldon) made with respect to the reopening of the Birrallee section ofthe hospital in Belair, South Australia, for, I understand, the benefit of nursing home and convalescent patients. Senator Baume has mentioned the matter of staffing repatriation establishments. I understand that the reopening of Birrallee is to be done without increasing the staff. I also recall in the statement made by the Minister that the rehabilitation services at the Daw Park Repatriation General Hospital are to be extended.

Senator Keeffe - You need rehabilitation badly.

Senator JESSOP - I am talking about repatriation patients who I understand do require increased facilities and I commend the Minister on recognising this need. I am concerned that this may react against the interests of acutely ill patients at the Daw Park Repatriation General Hospital. I am also concerned that the Birrallee area is on very steeply graded terrain. For this reason it occurs to me that it would be inappropriate for wheelchair patients and also for elderly or feeble ambulant patients. As the Minister may be aware, the wards are on different levels. If this place is to be used for convalescent and nursing home patients they will be restricted to one level. 1 ask the Minister whether he has contemplated any extensions or any renovations with respect to the facilities that are available at Birrallee because I am quite certain that the facilities there at present would not be conducive to the adequate housing of wheelchair patients. I would also like to know whether it is a fact that this establishment is to be reopened without any increase in professional and support staff. In addition, when will the ward of the Daw Park Repatriation General Hospital at Birrallee be opened?

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