The Western Australian State Government will build a new publically-owned children’s hospital alongside Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Nedlands.
Health Minister Jim McGinty said planning was under way for the new hospital which would replace Princess Margaret Hospital for Children in Subiaco.
“The current economic boom will help pay for a new hospital for WA kids - owned by the people of Western Australia,” Mr McGinty said.
“As a Government, we are committed to providing the best possible medical facilities for children who are sick or injured. The new children’s hospital will enable us to continue to offer a high level of care to future generations of WA kids.
“We will continue to maintain PMH until the new hospital is built and are fortunate to have some of the country’s best paediatric doctors and nurses working there and providing excellent care. However, it is clear that the hospital has outgrown its current site and the building is nearing the end of its useful life.
“The new hospital will be built to worlds best standards and will be equipped with state-of-the-art equipment.
“The Carpenter Government is spending $5billion building and re-building hospitals the length and breadth of the State. It is the biggest investment in healthcare in WA’s history. This raft of work will be completed over the next six years.
“Next year, construction work on a $521million redevelopment of Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and an $80million research institute will begin.
“Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital will continue to operate during the phased redevelopment and work cannot start on the new children’s hospital until construction is complete in 2013. To do otherwise would compound the problems of running a major tertiary hospital on a construction site and would put patient care at risk.
“By 2013, the site for the new children’s hospital will be clear of buildings and the State will have greater capacity to undertake the project - in both financial terms and the ability to contract builders to complete major health projects.
“In the meantime, we will have finalised all of the detailed planning and design work and will be ready to start building straight away.”
The State Government had committed an initial $207million towards the project, which would enable advanced planning work to begin. Almost $4million would now be spent on planning, to bring the project to design and documentation stage. The final budget for the new hospital was expected to be in the order of $700-800million.
Construction of the hospital would take three years.
The Minister said a record 30,000 babies were expected to be born in WA this year and the new hospital would help care for children born during the current ‘baby boom’.
“We are currently increasing paediatric services in our secondary hospitals such as Rockingham-Kwinana, Armadale-Kelmscott, Midland and Joondalup and at the main country hospitals, but it is clear that WA also needs a new central specialist children’s hospital,” Mr McGinty said.
“Increased paediatric services at other hospitals will enable PMH staff to focus more on providing highly specialised care to the sickest children. Those children who can be appropriately treated elsewhere will get care closer to home - which is good news for both the patient and their families.”
Following the development of the new children’s hospital, a new women’s hospital would also be built on the site, replacing the existing King Edward Memorial Hospital.
Once the two new hospitals were completed, the three hospitals would create a new ‘super hospital’ with more than 1,150 beds. The ‘super hospital’ would be the largest in WA. It would complement the new Fiona Stanley Hospital in Murdoch, which is scheduled for completion in 2013.
Building the new children’s hospital and women’s hospital alongside Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital would fulfil a recommendation of the 2004 Reid Report.
The report, which had guided the State Government’s $5billion reformation of WA’s health system, recommended co-locating the women’s and children’s hospitals with a tertiary hospital to allow for:
· better provision of acute and diagnostic services for women;
· the collocation of all high level neonatal services to optimise care of critically ill babies; and
· the development of a stronger link between neonatal and paediatric services, providing optimal care for pre-term babies.
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