Parliament: Questions Kelly's Asked

Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the minister representing the Minister for Health a question regarding the government’s decision to cease the sale of consumables to outpatients of the Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre.

Leave granted.

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: Last year, ironically on International Day of Disability, outpatients from the Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre were given less than a month’s notice that they would no longer be able to purchase consumables from Hampstead’s supply department. The decision had huge ramifications for numerous people, including clients of the Spinal Outpatient Department who purchased continence products from the store at a very reasonable price. These products are essential items for these people. They are things such as catheters, dressings, sterilisation products and disposable clothing, which are used not just to make people more comfortable but also to make it possible for people to do those basic things we often take for granted, like going to the toilet.

When these products were available at Hampstead, they were available at a low price, with minimum profit margin added. Now these people have been told to go out into the community to buy these essential items, and they are paying up to three times the cost they were previously paying. Put simply, these people are now paying extra money into private companies’ bank accounts just to access some of the most basic items for retaining their dignity.

While the state government may argue that the federally-funded Continence Aids Payment Scheme could help make up the shortfall, my constituents tell me differently. There was too little money allocated through the scheme to pay for products when Hampstead was still open. Now it has closed, this federal payout represents a tiny percentage of what some people are spending to access basic continence aids. Shutting Hampstead to outpatients has removed the tiny amount of support the state government formerly offered to these people, and they are suffering greatly because of that. My questions are:

  1. Why did the government make the decision to cease the sale of equipment and consumables to outpatients at the Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre?
  2. Why did the government not consult with outpatients prior to this decision being made?
  3. Did the government consider the possible impacts this decision would have on people who purchased these items from the centre?
  4. What actions will this government take to assist people with continence issues to purchase affordable continence products?