In the Media

Campaigning for the up-coming State election

Andrew Reimer | 5AA

Andrew Reimer: Ryan Mann, he’s been chosen as the number three ticket on the Dignity Party’s list of candidates at the next State election. Ryan wants to see improvements to the health system especially when it comes to rehabilitation services. He’s had unusual experiences as a patient in the spinal ward of both the WA and SA healthcare systems, g’day Ryan, tell us about yourself, what have your experiences been like and what do you hope to change?

Ryan Mann: I had my spinal cord injury over in Western Australia from a diving accident I spent two months in the rehab ward at the Fiona Stanley Hospital, which was a brand new hospital just outside of Perth, they had an adjacent four storey state of the art rehabilitation service, after about two months we had to return home and then I went out to Hampstead where there was a big change and that opened my eyes to the difference in what one state has to the other in a society like we live in, in a prosperous state like South Australia that our equipment, our facilities and services should be as good if not better than the other states.

Andrew Reimer: have you had a bit of a chance to have a look around the new RAH and what’s going to be on offer there?

Ryann Mann: I haven’t been through the hospital but I’ve checked on things the issue with the Royal Adelaide Hospital is it doesn’t focus anywhere to do with rehabilitation at all, they’re actually short on a few beds and other things as well so they’re actually trying to move some outpatient services to other hospitals as well, they’re not actually able to accommodate everything in the one hospital, once again we’re doing this thing where we’re having fragmented systems for example before they move the stuff from the Repat they would have the Repat Hospital and as a spinal cord patient living within the zone of the Repat I had the ability to use all the systems and services there as an outpatient but everybody in South Australia doesn’t have access to a facility like that one of the things I’ll be campaigning for is a centralised outpatient services this isn’t just for spinal cord injury, this is for stroke, brain injury, all that as well, rather than have these fragmented system we should be having one centralised location with just as good equipment, everybody should have access to the same sort of rehabilitation.

Andrew Reimer: And the experienced doctors and nursing staff also to take care of that patient as well.

Ryan Mann: Of course, one of the biggest things that I found, the difference between Fiona Stanley and Hampstead was the shortage in staff, this is trained staff with neurological conditions like a spinal cord injury or a brain injury or a stroke. Some of these nurses require extra skill set and it’s a little bit unfair for me knowing that I’d experienced the good care in Western Australia and then over here where I felt like at times I was training a lot of the not the staff that were there permanently but they have a lot of ring in staff from agencies and these nurses they don’t deal with some of these issues a lot so I was training them with things like bladder scanners and things they wouldn’t usually use. If they’re going to get the nurses and things in from these agencies they should be looking at more rostered set of nurses that are a bit more trained there’s a lot of skill sets lacking from the home care system as well. I was speaking to a young quad that I was in hospital with recently and he was telling me the home care nurses he has, their skill set is so low that one of them turned the cold water tap the wrong way and left him sitting in the burning hot water for a minute or two and he ended going to hospital.

Andrew Reimer: Before your spinal cord injury what were you doing?

Ryan Mann: I was doing electrical project management type stuff in Western Australia, we worked on all the BHP sites upgrading from analogue radio to digital radio.

Andrew Reimer:  you’ve also been working with the Neil Sachse Foundation.

Ryan Mann: My daughter was born just about eight months after my accident I wanted to help provide for my family so 12 months after my injury I started looking around and I decided to donate some money to Neil and he invited me up for a coffee and he said what are you going to do with yourself so for 12 months I was going in there and checking out Neil’s operation for two days a week, became a board member and then SAHMRI recently offered to absorb the foundation so I’ve helped Neil move his foundation into SAHMRI and we’ve got a world leading spinal cord imaging project on at SAHMRI. I think SAHMRI and that health and medical research precinct there is really going to be the next real big industry that’s going to attract some bright minds to our state and help grow that industry for us.

Andrew Reimer: How did you come up on Kelly Vincent and the Dignity Party’s radar?

Ryan Mann: I noticed there were certain things that were missing there’s a certain test that needs to be done for a classification for your bladder and it’s done 12 weeks post injury in Western Australia and over here it took me two years to get that test done and I returned to hospital on two or three occasions, emergency ward racking up tax payer dollars and that was months and months of pain because there was no real treatment plan that was given to me. I thought this is not good enough, I’ve got a voice and I’m going to use it so I went down to Parliament House and thought I’m going to try and help find solutions, I got a student to help carry my wheelchair up the stairs because I couldn’t find the disabled entry, it’s not very well signposted, I ended up finding Kelly Vincent’s office and we had a good chat. I started getting more and more engaged with the party and seeing what Kelly was working on and I though this lady, she’s such a trendsetter, working on some really important policy, real social issues that are going to help push Adelaide as the universal inclusive city and I thought she’s a champion and I’m going to jump on board and help her get re-elected and see how much more dignity we can bring to the Upper House.

Andrew Reimer: thanks for coming on the program.

Ryan Mann: A pleasure.