Patients seek better swimming pool facilities
Chronically ill patients who would benefit from water therapy say they are unable to enjoy public swimming pools because of inadequate facilities.
They say cold water temperatures, slippery floors and showers which are difficult to operate combine to make the use of public pools almost impossible.
A group of patients with Parkinson's disease, muscular dystrophy and rheumatism recently met representatives from the Provisional Regional Council to ask for facilities to be amended to take care of special needs.
They asked that water temperatures be kept at a minimum of 28 degrees Celsius, two degrees above normal, and that indoor pool areas be heated. Additional demands included requests for floors around pools to be covered with slip-resistant material and, where possible, push-type shower controls be replaced with easier to use lever controls.
The patients, led by the Alliance for Patients Mutual Help Organisation, also put their case to the Provisional Urban Council.
The two councils operate more than 30 pools.
About 10 can be heated, but patients claim that is not enough and want the Government to build more heated pools.
'Water exercise would be good for the patients, but a lot of them are not using the public pools because the facilities are not suitable for them,' said the group's vice-chairman, Iris Chan Sui-ching.
Urban and regional councillors, however, said they could not meet all the demands because some of the patients' needs conflicted with public preferences.
Chan Ping, chairman of the Provisional Regional Council's recreation and sports select committee, said: 'We will try to see what we can do to meet the patients' needs, but we have to keep in mind the needs of the general public too.'