Perth Children’s Hospital: health minister contradicts himself on winter patient moving dates

Perth Children's Hospital will get its first patients on May 14.
Perth Children's Hospital will get its first patients on May 14.

MOVING young, sick patients from Princess Margaret Hospital to the new children’s hospital during winter is not ideal, but the sooner the patients are moved the better says WA’s peak doctor lobby group.

On Sunday, Premier Mark McGowan announced the new Perth Children’s Hospital (PCH) would begin taking outpatients on May 14 with the final move of patients from PMH to occur on June 10.

AMA (WA) President Dr Omar Khorshid said the winter months were often the busiest and coldest part of the year and there were many children with respiratory illnesses.

“We have consistently said that the best time for the opening of a new hospital would not be during the winter months when hospitals are at their busiest,” he said.

“However it’s important that we get Perth Children’s Hospital opened sooner rather than later.

“Public confidence in this facility has been under pressure over the last few years due to a litany of issues that have plagued it, ranging from asbestos in the roof to lead in the water.”

Health Minister Roger Cook said last year he would not risk transferring patients during the winter flu season, however he said the decision of when to move to PCH was based on a thorough risk assessment and the best interests of patients, families and carers.

“It is important to note that a June 10 final move for inpatients is at the very start of winter and is well ahead of the peak of flu season which in WA falls in August September,” he said.

“The Princess Margaret Hospital executive, senior PMH clinicians, the Perth Children’s Hospital project and other stakeholders have been consulted in order to come to a determination regarding hospital opening dates and a final inpatient move and they are supportive of this decision.

“This has considered an analysis of hospital activity, case-mix data and individual patient transfer requirements.”

Mr Cook said the safety of patients was a top priority.

“Our focus has always remained ensuring we have a safe hospital for patients and staff and we will open Perth Children’s Hospital only when it is safe to do so,” he said.

“Current estimates for the number of inpatients who will be moved from PMH to PCH is less than 100.”

Dr Khorshid said the AMA was looking forward to the progressive opening of the world-class facility.

“We are confident that the Health Department has learnt from some of the teething problems at Fiona Stanley Hospital, and once patients are admitted to this state-of-the-art hospital they can expect world-class care,” he said.

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