Future of Bentley Hospital births uncertain

The maternity ward at Bentley Hospital may close after a report found services lacking
The maternity ward at Bentley Hospital may close after a report found services lacking

A REPORT into the viability of non-tertiary maternity hospitals is Perth has recommended the closure of Bentley Hospital’s maternity wing.

Blaming safety concerns, the report found the hospital to be an “unsatisfactory facility that is badly in need of refurbishing”.

It found the average wait time for an emergency caesarean was about 60 minutes.

“It is not conducive to establishing a different and safe contemporary model of care,” the report said.

“The hospital is already at capacity undertaking about 1000 births per annum through three delivery suites “It is recommended that BH, for the reasons of potential lack of safety, not continue to provide maternity services into the future.”

Health Minister Kim Hames told State Parliament in May that any decision to close the ward would be based on the report’s findings.

“I’m leaning towards keeping (the hospital open), but I will not decide until I get the report,” he said.

The report offered no timeframe, but it urged consultative measures with the community and for neighbouring tertiary hospitals, including Fiona Stanley Hospital, to absorb the overflow.

“It would be appropriate and in order to cope with the sensitivities that would arise with the closure of this service, that community representatives be met and informed of the reasons for closure,” the report said.

Last year, 1044 babies were born at the hospital and, as of May this year, about 600 had been born.

Cannington MLA Bill Johnston said following the recommendation would be a bad decision.

“This is a well used service, that is being used more than ever,” he said.

“It would be totally unreasonable to expect women in labour to travel to Fiona Stanley or Swan Districts.”