State and Opposition clash over RPH Protection Bill

State and Opposition clash over RPH Protection Bill

ROYAL PERTH HOSPITAL is at the centre of a storm, with local politicians clashing after the passage of Labor’s RPH Protection Bill last Wednesday.

Mt Lawley candidate Simon Millman claims Labor is the only party that “has the backs” of RPH staff.

“Four hundred and fifty jobs have been cut from Royal Perth Hospital,” he told Guardian Express.

“Passing our RPH Protection Bill sends a message to the staff that we are in their corner, fighting for them.”

The Bill commits the State to maintaining and enhancing RPH as a tertiary service hospital.

Labor’s health spokesman Roger Cook said the Barnett Government “introduced (a similar) Bill in 2008 and left it on the table until 2013 when it lapsed”.

“We decided to put it in since they weren’t prepared to act,” he said.

“We heard what the community wanted at the 2008 election and we support RPH 100 per cent.”

Mt Lawley MLA Michael Sutherland said Labor “have changed their position a number of times” since 2008.

“It was an election commitment of the Liberals in 2008 to save RPH. After the election, the government introduced the Royal Perth Hospital Protection Bill to support the continued operation of RPH as a major hospital… (it) passed through the Lower House but not through the Upper House prior to the 2013 election by which time Labor had committed to retain the hospital,” he said.

Mr Sutherland said the Government supported Labor’s RPH Protection Bill because “in effect it replicated the Bill originally introduced by the Government in 2008”.

“The Bill has become superfluous because debate about the future of RPH was settled by the time of the 2013 election,” he said.

This is a bit of ‘one upmanship’ considering Labor’s original position; a case of becoming more Catholic than the Pope!”

He said staff numbers at RPH have “adjusted over the last two years as RPH aligns to its new service profile following the opening of Fiona Stanley Hospital and the Midland Public hospital and the reconfiguration of the RPH from 660 beds to 450 beds”.

“Messers Cook and Millman are obviously again beating the union and Labor negativity drum about RPH,” Mr Sutherland said.