Child health boost

An artist’s impression of how the new paediatric ward will look on top of the hospital. Picture: Silver Thomas Hanley
An artist’s impression of how the new paediatric ward will look on top of the hospital. Picture: Silver Thomas Hanley

A 37-bed children’s ward will replace the 24-bed ward which was built when the hospital opened in 1980, allowing more children to be treated locally instead of travelling to Nedlands for care at the new Perth Children’s Hospital.

Named the Telethon Kids Ward, JHC’s paediatric capacity will increase by more than 50 per cent. Construction will begin later this year, creating an extra floor above the existing public hospital.

Child admissions to the campus have grown by 31 per cent in the past four years, with almost 3000 children treated last year.

Paediatric emergency admissions, which numbered 21,333 in 2013, have grown by 56 per cent over the same period.

JHC Professor of Paediatrics Desiree Silva was upbeat about the plans.

‘The ward will be family- friendly with play areas for children and overnight facilities for parents,’ she said.

‘With floor-to-ceiling glass surround, the ward will feel bright and spacious.’

The State Government and Telethon WA will provide |$6 million each, while JHC operator Ramsay Health will contribute $3 million.

Health Minister Kim Hames said it would establish a ‘mini-hub’ for paediatric care in Perth’s north.

The 298-bed Perth Children’s Hospital, due to open late in 2015, would be the primary point of care, while Fiona Stanley Hospital would form a mini-hub in the south.

Like Perth Children’s Hospital, there will be an emphasis on single-bed rooms.

‘The Telethon Kids Ward will have 75 per cent single rooms and overnight facilities for parents,’ Dr Hames said.

‘It will also have a 10-bay day procedure unit.’

JHC’s child health and maternity services have undergone a significant transformation in recent years.

In 2011, its Special Care Nursery for newborns doubled in size, while last year a new antenatal clinic was built.