indeed angrier than I was when I first heard it might happen.
We have a hospital in this state which was built to serve the needs of men and women who were injured in war. It has served that purpose well.
I know the place well. I have been in and out of it hundreds of time visiting mostly elderly war veterans. They have been well cared for there. The staff who work there have usually been aware of the special psychological needs of some of their patients.
Middle Cat worked there for some years - in the physiotherapy department. She is also aware of the very special needs some of her patients had.
Over the years there have been fewer veterans but the hospital has also taken over specialist care for older patients with mental health needs and end-of-life care in an excellent hospice. It also has a pulmonary unit which serves people with long term needs and an artificial limb centre which serves most of the southern half of the state.
The place is a warren of wards, some of them old and others new. A new building went up last year. It was supposed to be a specialist centre.
Yesterday the state government announced that they were, as rumours had been having it, going to close the place. There has, rightly, been an outcry over this. There has already been a petition to the government to keep it open. Medical staff I know are appalled by the decision. There is nowhere else for some of the essential services the hospital provides. Other places which provide something similar are already over loaded. There are waiting lists.
This decision has been made by a government which spent millions of dollars rebuilding oval facilities which could and should have been paid for by those who use the oval. It is a decision made by a government which spent millions more building a footbridge over a river rather than telling people to walk a hundred metres more over another bridge. It is a decision made by a government which has recently sold off a valuable parcel of land at a greatly reduced price. The money saved on all those things could have renovated and rebuilt a hospital that was doing an essential service.
I would not like to be our local member of parliament. He happens to be the Minister for Veterans' Affairs. He is already in strife because he switched his allegiance - for his own benefit - without consulting the electorate. He will now have to face the fury of many more.
That hospital was - and should still be - an essential service. It is time government recognised that there are more important things than watching sport.