Armadale Health Service executive director Chris Bone told Comment News last Tuesday that a total of 437 beds by 2020/21 were being planned, up from the current 290 beds.
Mr Bone said the August State Budget funded the planning process which would continue until June next year to outline Armadale’s needs to attract capital.
He said the area’s rapid growth would affect how the hospital met this need.
The area had many new families in addition to an ageing population, plus an increasing number of migrants with more Sudanese and Muslim patients.
‘In the last 1990s to 2000s demographic, the aim was to keep patients in the area as only about 20-odd per cent were able to be treated at Armadale,’ Mr Bone said.
Now increasing the specialisation of the medical workforce is a key focus.
‘We are well supported by the visiting consultant model and are now looking at salaried consultants as of the past 12 months,’ Mr Bone said.
‘It means the hospital can retain people who are a bit sicker. Transfers out for general medical to other hospitals are really small now.’
The hospital is experiencing pressure in general medicine and in maternity where the number of births has well exceeded projections.
The Emergency Department also receives 62,500 presentations, more than the designed 60,000 annual presentations.
Despite plans to expand, in recent months the hospital lost ophthalmology services to Bentley to help ease the pressure on waitlists for ophthalmology surgeries.
‘There is an expectation that we deliver timely surgeries,’ Mr Bone said.
‘Something had to give; we weren’t going to make federal and state targets.’
When asked whether any other services maybe be lost, Mr Bone said: ‘In truth, we don’t know.’