The 10-bed unit, first established as a trial in the disused Galliers day surgery, has now been formalised.
Armadale Health Service medical director Alison Maclean said the service would mean acutely ill patients with medical, not surgical or obstetric, conditions could be sent from ED to the unit and assessed twice a day by consultants before being sent to a ward.
She said patients would likely stay for 36 to 48 hours in the unit, which was next to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) to cater for patients who deteriorated, and also for ICU patients needing stabilising before going to a ward.
It caters for people with abnormal heart rhythms, pneumonia, chest pain and similar conditions.
‘The unit is for people who need close observations, regular nursing observations and is for the sickest people short of those needing ICU,’ Dr Maclean said.
‘Junior medical staff are much better supported and trained here. The unit hopes to expand to 16 beds and we are getting another consultant physician at the end of the year.’
Armadale MLA Tony Buti said the development indicated the pressure on Perth EDs.
He said ambulances ramped for more than 40 hours in May, more than double the waiting times for the same time last year.
Health Minister Kim Hames recently mentioned upgrades to Armadale-Kelmscott Memorial Hospital, earmarked to become a general hospital next year.
According to the WA Health Clinical Services Framework 2010-2020, the hospital will be nearly double the size by 2020/21, with 437 beds instead of its present 264.
Dr Hames also said a small team of UK experts would visit Perth in July to advise WA on improving its four-hour rule implementation.