Staff shortage stops hydrotherapy treatment
Amy Edwards with her daughter Ruby Martin. Picture: Dione Davidson/The West Australian

Princess Margaret Hospital’s hydrotherapy pool is expected to re-open later this week, according to the Health Department, amid fears children could miss out on vital therapy.

The pool has been closed while a staff member is on leave.

Acting director general of health Bryant Stokes denied the hydrotherapy supervisor position was affected by a recruitment freeze.

“Unfortunately there has been a gap between the supervisor going on leave and an appropriately qualified staff member commencing in the position this week,” he said.

“The hydrotherapy pool was closed last Friday and I expect it to re-open this week.

“On behalf of PMH, I apologise to those patients and their families who have been inconvenienced by this.”

Lakelands mother Amy Edwards said today that she had been told by hospital staff that the pool where 12-month-old Ruby has weekly therapy to keep her muscles supple would be closed for the next six weeks.

Hospital staff had told Ms Edwards that an employee on leave was not being replaced because of the State Government’s freeze on jobs.

Ms Edwards said it would hamper early intervention treatment for Ruby, who also has epilepsy and vision impairment.

In a double blow to the family, the private physiotherapist who treats Ruby fortnightly in Mandurah at a cost of $85 is on holidays, leaving the baby without any therapy over the six weeks.

Shadow health minister Roger Cook said the State Government had repeatedly claimed that front line services for patients would not be affected by the jobs freeze.

“It’s not good enough that families and their children should miss out on therapy and health services because of the Government’s mismanagement of the State’s Budget,” Mr Cook said.

“Health Minister Kim Hames must guarantee that these services are not cancelled or wound back because of the jobs freeze policy.”
The hospital has not responded to the claims yet.

The Health Department said this afternoon that the hydrotherapy pool is expected to re-open later this week.

Acting director general of health Bryant Stokes denied the hydrotherapy supervisor position was affected by the recruitment freeze.

“Unfortunately there has been a gap between the supervisor going on leave and an appropriately qualified staff member commencing in the position this week,” he said.

“The hydrotherapy pool was closed last Friday and I expect it to re-open this week.

“On behalf of PMH, I apologise to those patients and their families who have been inconvenienced by this.”

The West Australian

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