And it did, with namesake Fiona Stanley ” founding director of the Telethon Kids Institute, former Australian of the Year and distinguished UWA research professor ” on hand for the formalities, and patients and families reporting a positive start to their time at the State Rehabilitation Centre.
‘It is a pressured environment but I have an extremely good team,’ Dr Russell-Weisz said prior to the two major milestones.
‘It’s going to plan as much as anything like this can. We’ve never done it here in WA before, opened an 800-bed hospital facility in four phases, but everything is going very well from all I hear.’
Dr Russell-Weisz began his tenure in November 2012 and admitted after 22 months, he would experience a sigh of relief after the hospital welcomed its first patients, initially more than 100 planned to be moved from Shenton Park, in operation for more than a century.
To ensure readiness, more than 950 very detailed clinical tests were run, including 67 major tests, and they will be repeated for each of the three remaining opening phases, the next being the relocation of clinical services in November, followed by the all-important Emergency Department opening next February, when testing will double.
Plans to move as many as 120 rehabilitation patients were downgraded to just over 80 after some were discharged and with the help of police, emergency services and Main Roads WA, about 20 vehicles including buses, mini-buses, cars with wheelchair access and ambulances ensured safe passage through the city.
The first patient left Shenton Park at 8.08am on Saturday, with the final patient departing the historic centre at 11.38am and arriving at the new Murdoch facility at 12.08pm.
A FSH spokeswoman said positive feedback had been received from the hospital’s first patients.
Some of the casual comments overheard included that patients were enjoying exploring the new grounds, were delighted by the therapeutic activities available and impressed by the rooms.
‘We can’t cut corners and the general public does get that. It’s hard enough to move house, so you can see why it’s so important to get this absolutely right and we are confident in what we are doing. We are a part of history in WA,’ he said.
It won’t be until March that Dr Russell-Weisz and his team will be able to think about taking a break. Until then, it’s all systems go in a game-changing development that will eventually mean more than 1400 hospital beds will be available in the Murdoch precinct.