COUNCIL has been criticised over rejecting money to upgrade the Oasis for hydrotherapy services.
Wagga MP Daryl Maguire said he offered Wagga City Council (WWCC) $200,000 last week to upgrade disability parking and access at Oasis to increase its capacity for hydrotherapy, amid reports the community-funded hydrotherapy pool at Wagga Base will be axed.
But WWCC has joined the fight to keep the pool in the hands of the public, resolving on Monday to instead make representations to Mr Maguire and the state government to secure funding for a hydrotherapy pool in the next stage of the new Rural Referral Hospital.
It comes with growing fears a deal to open the use of Calvary’s private facility would cost public patients access – but it is a fight Mr Maguire believes could be fixed by simply upgrading the Oasis.
Mr Maguire said community consultation last year found that the Oasis was not an appropriate alternative for hydrotherapy because of inadequate parking, disability access, slippery floors, privacy and security.
But the funding included only upgrading disability parking and access to the rear of Oasis.
“I’m rather surprised council hasn’t taken that up,” Mr Maguire said.
“This is additional because (some) people can’t access (Oasis) now. It is council’s problem.”
Mr Maguire said the matter of transporting patients offsite was “the health services worry” and hit back at arguments the pool should remain in the hands of the public at the hospital.
“Nothing is forever,” he said.
“Infrastructure services wear out. It’s difficult to get money, but I’ve managed to do it.”
Councillors were notified of Mr Maguire’s offer ahead of Monday night’s meeting, but debate reinforced that council shared the stance the hydrotherapy pool should remain at the hospital.
“On the debate, council are of the opinion that the government should provide the facility,” Mayor Kendall said.
“The community is clearly thankful for the hospital, but we’d hope it would include the hydrotherapy pool."
Meanwhile, Wagga Base Hospital general manager Denis Thomas confirmed discussions between MLHD and Calvary were continuing. He added in-patient services rarely included hydrotherapy and the current utilisation of the pool averages 10 hours per week.
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