Opposition claims PMH is inadequately maintained while new hospital is delayed

THE State Government has allowed Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) to deteriorate as the new children’s hospital continues to be delayed, Labor claims.

Opposition Health spokesman Roger Cook said it appeared no plan had been put in place to keep PMH operating at its best during the unexpected and prolonged delay to the new hospital.

“We assume that for the last 12 months PMH has had a period of operating when they weren’t expecting to be,” Mr Cook said.

“I have grave concerns that staff have been working under sub-standard conditions because they have not had the upgrades or maintenance programmed in.”

Documents released in a budget estimates hearing revealed contracts to prepare the hospital for clinical level hygiene would run for 26 weeks after the practical completion date.

Mr Cook said there was “no way” the new hospital would be ready by the end of 2016.

Health minister John Day said the new children’s hospital “remains firmly on track for opening in late 2016”.

“Perth Children’s Hospital is among the largest infrastructure projects undertaken in this State and it will be one of the most advanced dedicated paediatric hospitals in the world,” Mr Day said.

“Commissioning a specialist paediatric facility is an extremely complex task and ensuring the well-being of all our patients, families, carers and staff remains our top priority.”

Mr Cook said the closure of the infants ward, and a number of programs, at PMH was “disturbing”.

“The infants’ ward 8A; the anorexia specialist program, the play coordinators who were employed at the hospital – have gone.”

However, Mr Day said the closure of PMH’s 8A infants’ ward last December was “not a mistake”.

“There is now a combined complex infants and medical ward at PMH located on Ward 9A, which provides specialist nursing care,” he said.

“This combined ward configuration will be replicated on ward 2B at PCH once it opens.”