Hunter New England Health says hydrotherapy pools are "not a core requirement"

Armidale Hospital.

Armidale Hospital.

Armidale Hospital does not need a hydrotherapy pool, Hunter New England Health says.

“Hydrotherapy is actually not a core requirement of public health services,” HNEH general manager for Northern Tablelands, Wendy Mulligan told The Express on Friday. Why? That’s a hard question.

“I can’t comment on that,” she said. “It’s just not a part of what we do.”

But it’s been a service at the Armidale Hospital for almost 40 years.

“I don’t know why the pool was put in and they don’t put new hydrotherapy pools in health services anymore,” Ms Mulligan said.

The Express contacted HNEH on Friday following news that the pool would reopen on July 24.

But with no assessments done for the long-term maintenance of the pool, Ms Mulligan said the good news could be short lived.

“We can’t continue to maintain it forever,” she said.

“We can’t guarantee that in 12 months time something else isn’t going to happen.”

We can’t continue to maintain it forever.

Wendy Mulligan, HNEH

But would the healthcare giant fix it again?

“I can’t comment on anything,” she said.

Rusden Street Physiotherapy owner and physiotherapist, Deborah Hunter, said hydrotherapy was great for pain management and rehabilitation. 

“It really does help people and it reminds the brain of what the body can do which can then translate to functional activities outside the water,” she said.

“People can move better in the water because it takes away the weight of their body so their joints aren’t loading up as much.

“It can improve mobility and help build strength through resistance of the water. The heat helps in reducing the pain.”

But regardless of its benefits, Ms Mulligan said it wasn’t a “core function” of the hospital.

Ms Hunter said taking the pool away from the hospital would give the community greater access and control.

“The hospital is really looking after acute care patients and the people who usually need hydrotherapy are people returning from acute or chronic conditions,” Ms Hunter said.

Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall inspecting the Armidale Hydrotherapy pool during final upgrades with acting General Manager Yvonne Patricks and Hospital Maintenance Manager Simon Williamson.

Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall inspecting the Armidale Hydrotherapy pool during final upgrades with acting General Manager Yvonne Patricks and Hospital Maintenance Manager Simon Williamson.