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The 100 Days Out in the Cold

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by Dave Walsh (subscribe)
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A heart warming story
the repat, repatriation hospital, transforming health, parliament house, in adelaide
Repatriation Hospital Protesters in the Cold at Parliament House in Adelaide


Since the SA government introduced its Transforming Health "discussion" paper late last year, there has been a robust debate about it. Said to have been prepared in partnership with more than sixty of the state's health workers, it aimed to identify the strengths and weaknesses in Adelaide's health system.

Whether those health workers are representative of their colleagues is unclear. Other staff have been gagged by SA Health, and ICAC has the power to pursue unauthorised whistleblowers. The desired result of Transforming Health is to save $332 million

However the entire Transforming Health plan is so complicated that even the summary document is 44 pages long. For those of us trying to make an assessment about Transforming Health the task is difficult.

the repat, repatriation hospital, transforming health, parliament house, daw house hospice, south of adelaide
Daw House Hospice at The Repat South of Adelaide


Significant sections of the community have already decided. The most vocal are the twelve thousand strong Save the Repat group backed by the Liberal Party. Despite this the Liberal's ingenuous support doesn't seem to be backed up with any policies or solutions to the state's financial dilemmas.

There is strong opposition in the community to many of the closures that the government has proposed, but the Repatriation Hospital is the main focus. For a couple of months a group of determined war service veterans and their supporters have been on the steps of Parliament House night and day to express their opposition to closing the Repat. (The government has ruled out closing the Repatriation Hospital Museum and Chapel).

the repat, repatriation hospital, transforming health, parliament house, save the repat, in adelaide
Save the Repat Protest in Adelaide


I admire the Parliament House protesters for their determination and commitment to their cause in the face of Adelaide's bleak winter. Only yesterday I was considering whether I would brave the cold for ninety minutes to see the free Violet Verses sound and light show. In the end I enjoyed the show immensely, despite the cold. But it did give me a deep appreciation of what the Repatriation Hospital protesters are going through.

On July 14 he Save the Repat Veterans and supporters will have spent 100 days campaigning on the steps of Parliament House. The people that I have seen in media coverage are not young, and yet they continue to cheerfully endure very unpleasant conditions to make their case and support fellow veterans.

While the government continues to alternately ignore, threaten and dismiss them, the Parliament House Repat protest shows no sign of stopping. They have called for other veterans and the general public to come and support them on July 14, their 100th day. With nearly 4,000 supporters on their Facebook page, I hope that they do get a good turnout, if only to recognise their courage and determination.

Few of us are in a position to judge the Transforming Health program, but we have all seen media stories of ambulance ramping at Flinders. When I hear that the government wants to close a further 840 hospital beds it seems like a recipe for disaster.

the repat, repatriation hospital, transforming health, parliament house, save the repat, in adelaide, new investment, vita rehabilitation centre
New Investment in Vita Rehabilitation Centre at the Repatriation Hospital South of Adelaide


The new Royal Adelaide Hospital (NRAH) is now acknowledged to be the third most expensive building in the world. More costly than the Shard in London, New York's One World Trade Center and Bucharest's Palace of the Parliament!

Perhaps more prudent financial planning and management for the NRAH would have allowed us to keep the Repat and other institutions open? I personally have used the Repat a few times and have been delighted with the convenience and levels of service, as have many other residents south of Adelaide. While I'm sure the medical staff at Flinders work hard, I shudder at the prospect of going there for treatment.

I'll probably go along on Monday July 14 to celebrate the Repat protesters 100 days in the cold on the steps of Parliament House. Will you be there?

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Why? Recognise the courage and dedication of the Repatriation Hospital protesters at Parliament House
When: 11.30am
Where: Parliament House Adelaide
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Totally with you & the wider community on this one Dave. Government truly has lost its vision & direction re: policy & strategy on health & aged care services - not just State bu. Federal as well. The medical community of RGH do not want to see PTSD going to FMC as it requires specific expertise in which RGH specialises in at world-class levels
by Jenny Pickett (score: 3|1694) 1597 days ago
Thanks for the article Dave.
The vision of a better health system is steam rolling old facilities in its wake. I am very familiar with repat. But if one part of it goes, it all goes - one section can't survive as a stand alone unit. With the exception of the heritage buildings. Health facilities need single rooms and best practice infection control. Much as I love the culture at the repat the actual buildings are falling behind. The numbers don't add up and there is a lack of detail in the released plan - but my guess is they haven't figured it all out yet?
I won't believe it until they turn the earth on the proposed new sites. i.e. rehabilitation unit. Have not heard what they are planning to do with Ward 17.
by Jenny Esots (score: 3|1249) 1589 days ago
By luck I was meeting a friend at Parliament House on the 100th day of the protest and had the opportunity to meet the supporters of the Repat Hospital.
and to add my signature to those already collected. In the 20 minutes I waited I saw many people happy to sign, NO refusals......The Veterans proudly wearing their medals were most concerned that I was standing in the icy wind, bless them. I wish them well in their actions and hope that Mr Snelling for once listens to the wishes of the people and their needs instead of this current destructive lunacy.
by mushka (score: 0|5) 1586 days ago
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