Renal move defended

Fiona Stanley at the official opening ceremony of the hospital named after her.
Fiona Stanley at the official opening ceremony of the hospital named after her.

But South Metropolitan Health Service chief executive Frank Daly said only two of the six renal medicine consultants at Fremantle Hospital had expressed a preference to work at Fiona Stanley Hospital when given the opportunity last year.

‘The remaining consultants, as permanent employees of WA Health, will continue to be employed within the metropolitan health service and we will make every effort to accommodate individual work location preferences,’ Professor Daly said.

‘Renal medicine services at Fremantle will relocate to FSH as Fremantle changes to its new specialist role. This will occur in February, 2015.

‘Changes to service delivery models associated with the opening of FSH have been widely communicated in staff forums and promotional materials throughout South Metropolitan Health Service (SMHS) hospitals since 2012.’

Opposition health spokesman Roger Cook said several kidney patients were distressed at the move and a perceived loss of services.

‘They are concerned a more junior specialist will not understand their substantial medical history and complex care needs,’ Mr Cook said.

‘These doctors have dedicated their lives to helping renal patients manage their conditions and have achieved outstanding results.’

Prof Daly said the SMHS’ focus was to try to provide care closer to patients’ homes while also meeting their clinical needs.

‘In some circumstances, renal patients may have the opportunity to continue to be treated by their current consultant. This will be individually assessed based on a patient’s clinical need,’ he said.

He said the FSH Renal Service would provide an integrated service delivery model with the Renal Transplant Service, support other SMHS hospitals providing general nephrology services and satellite units providing dialysis services.

It would be staffed by a combination of experienced former Royal Perth and Fremantle hospitals’ renal doctors, nurses and allied health professionals.