TEN million dollars earmarked for the redevelopment of Bentley Hospital was quietly passed to Royal Perth Hospital’s fire needs in the recent State Budget.
Despite being on the same page of the State Budget as the recently announced $5 million robotics system at Fiona Stanley for prostate surgeries, neither Cannington MLA Bill Johnston nor the Australian Medical Association seemed to know about the government’s intention to reallocate the money when the Canning Times started asking questions.
Page 180 of budget paper No. 3 states: “A total of $10 million has been reallocated from the Bentley Hospital redevelopment project to meet priority fire safety needs at Royal Perth Hospital. The existing facilities at Bentley will remain fully functional and able to meet clinical service delivery requirements without compromising patient, staff or visitor safety”.
When asked how the $10 million was to be used, a spokeswoman for the East Metro Health Service, which oversees the hospital, said the money was not specifically allocated to any particular work at Bentley Hospital.
“Rather, that money was previously allocated as a provisional amount to be spent at Bentley Hospital, pending the outcome of a scope of works which would have been developed in a business case following consultation with all stakeholders through various project working groups,” she said.
“However, that business case is yet to be developed or consultation started. The development would have be in line with the Clinical Services Framework 2014-2024.
“The reallocated $10 million will be spent at Royal Perth Hospital for various upgrades or additional supply of fire safety needs.”
Cannington MLA Bill Johnston said he had met the chief executive and chair of EMHS about their future plans for the hospital and said it was a very efficient hospital.
A spokeswoman for Health Minister Roger Cook’s office said the State Government stood by its commitments made in Opposition and would address these projects in future budgets.
Opposition Leader Mike Nahan felt it was “unbelievably hypocritical” of the government to strip money from the hospital in its first Budget.