Media releases

Media releases and statements by Rachel Stephen-Smith

Update on hydrotherapy services in Canberra's south

February 14, 2020

The ACT Government and Arthritis ACT today announced a new agreement to continue providing hydrotherapy services on Canberra’s southside.

From 2 March 2020, Arthritis ACT will offer southside hydrotherapy services at Aqua Harmony in Kambah.

The ACT Government has committed additional funding of $305,000 over three years, providing for 645 additional hydrotherapy sessions a year at Aqua Harmony with two qualified staff members in attendance.

This will enable Arthritis ACT to continue offering hydrotherapy services in Canberra’s south following the closure of the Canberra Hospital hydrotherapy pool later this month.

The funding is in addition to the $239,000 per annum that Arthritis ACT currently receives from the ACT Government for the provision of services to the community, including 614 hydrotherapy sessions a year.

Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith said Arthritis ACT’s hydrotherapy sessions will move to Aqua Harmony while work continues to explore options for new hydrotherapy services on the southside.

“We know this has been a long process and a lot of work has been done to reach agreement with Arthritis ACT on an appropriate alternative to the Canberra Hospital pool.

“I recognise that not everyone will be happy with this outcome, but I am pleased that we have been able to find a path forward and provide certainty in relation to short-term arrangements.

“We have worked very closely with Arthritis ACT to find the most practical solution. This new agreement ensures services will be provided in a safer and more reliable facility while we work towards a longer-term solution,” said Minister Stephen-Smith.

In November 2019, the ACT Government committed to a market sounding process to identify non-government organisations that may be interested in working with the ACT Government to facilitate new, public hydrotherapy services in Canberra’s south.

Expressions of Interest close today, ACT Health will now review submissions and engage with relevant stakeholders, including Arthritis ACT.

“The closure of the hydrotherapy pool at the Canberra Hospital is not a decision that has been taken lightly. The ACT Government is committed to facilitating high quality, accessible services to meet the needs of Canberrans, and looks forward to continuing to work with Arthritis ACT in the delivery of its valuable services,” said Minister Stephen-Smith.

The hydrotherapy pool at the Canberra Hospital will close on 29 February 2020.