COLIN Barnett defended the State Government’s handling of the new children’s hospital this morning during a tour of the building site.
The Premier hailed the facility as “world class”, praising the use of space, colour and natural light to make it a more comfortable and comforting place for children getting medical care.
Mr Barnett said the building should be completed by August 4 but time was needed to make the hospital patient-ready.
“The 20th of November will be the final move; the day all of the patients will be moved in a fleet of ambulances from PMH to this site,” he said.
“I would like to confirm the hospital will open this year.”
The Auditor-General is currently investigating complaints from sub-contractors who worked for the principal builder of the hospital, John Holland.
Mr Barnett said Treasury was satisfied with the way John Holland had been paying its contractors.
The hospital operating theatres are 60sq m, up from the average size of 45sq m at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH).
The bigger theatres will accommodate the greater amount of equipment now used in most operations.
Miranda Nikolich, whose son has been a frequent patient at PMH, said the current children’s hospital “has been a fantastic facility” but praised the new hospital as a leap forward.
“The colour, the stimulating environment and the windows… for a child who spends a lot of time indoors, they need that colour and vibrancy,” she said.
Health Minister John Day conceded the new hospital would experience some teething problems next year, but nothing on the scale of the problems that had plagued Fiona Stanley Hospital.
“With any new facility – and one as complex as this – it is highly likely there will be some small issues to be dealt with in the first 12 months or so…(but) People will experience world’s best practice here,” he said.