Mr WHETSTONE (Chaffey) (14:59): My question is to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing. Minister, what evacuation plan does the government have in place for the nearly 100 residents and patients that may have to be evacuated from the Renmark hospital and the aged-care facility?
The Hon. C.J. PICTON (Kaurna—Minister for Health and Wellbeing) (14:59): I thank the member for Chaffey for this very good question. Obviously, it is an issue that SA Health, and particularly the Riverland Mallee Coorong Local Health Network, have been working significantly on since first news broke of the issue of the incoming water that is going to be coming down the Murray.
Assessment has been done by the local health network in regard to all its sites. The advice that I have received certainly is that, of those sites, it is really the Renmark site which is the one that is at risk. A significant amount of planning and evacuation planning is being done. I understand there were already some plans in place, but obviously, given the much heightened risk that they are going to have to be enacted, a significant amount of planning has been occurring.
As was said, we know that there are 77 aged-care residents, and usually six to eight patients on top of that, who are in the Renmark facility. The advice I have is that all those residents will be able to be transferred, should that be required, to other facilities within the local health network region. It will be done in a number of different stages.
The first stage would involve an orderly relocation of residents with significant mobility or other impairments to alternative facilities within the local health network. That would be done to make sure that those who are harder to move will be done first as a proactive measure. The second stage would involve the orderly relocation of ambulatory residents to alternative facilities, should the water reach such a point that evacuation of the facility would need to take place.
As the member would be aware, there is obviously a strong network between the various hospitals within the Riverland region. They are working together under the local health network to make sure that this can be managed in an orderly way. I'm advised that the local health network has been in contact with residents, patients and their families to inform them about the steps as they would need to be put in place.
Obviously, separately the government is doing a significant amount of work very, very quickly in regard to the levee around Renmark, but planning is being done on the worst case scenario that the hospital would have to be evacuated and to make sure that the residents can be accommodated appropriately. I want to thank the local health network, particularly Wayne Champion, who is leading these efforts. From the government's perspective, all support that we can offer in terms of making sure that those plans can be enacted certainly has our full support to make sure that can happen.