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Hydrotherapy pool still closed

Friday, 23rd April, 2010

By Andrew Robertson Almost a month after it was shut because of a staff shortage, the hospital's hydrotherapy pool remains closed to patients.

But the health service yesterday offered some hope for users, saying it was currently advertising to fill three physiotherapy positions. The Greater Western Area Health Service (GWAHS) blamed an "unplanned staffing shortage" in the physio department for the pool's "temporary" closure. A physiotherapist must be present when the pool, which was closed to the public at the beginning of this month, is in use. Its closure coincided with a physiotherapist finishing at the hospital. "We're still in the process of rectifying staff shortages," a spokesman for the health service told the BDT yesterday. He said that the health service was currently recruiting for two senior physiotherapists and one junior physio. It was unclear when the positions would be filled but the spokesman confirmed the pool would eventually re-open. "It's only temporary." That can't come soon enough for one resident who suffers from arthritis, who said hydrotherapy offered the most effective exercise she could do. "This is just not good enough. So many people use this facility and will greatly miss the relief it brings to them," the woman said in a letter to the BDT. She suggested the hospital investigate the possible use of volunteers to operate the pool, which was funded from the proceeds of a $380,000 hospital building trust fund started by the mines and unionists. Other users have also expressed anger at the pool's closure, including the father of a teenage boy with muscular dystrophy, who said the pool was "crucial" to his son. Just weeks before the closure was revealed the health service said physiotherapy services were being maintained despite staff shortages.

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