Libs pledge $138.5m for Geraldton hospital upgrade

Geraldton Guardian
Geraldton Hospital.
Camera IconGeraldton Hospital. Credit: The Geraldton Guardian

The Liberal Party today pledged $138.5 million to redevelop Geraldton Hospital over five years.

Premier Colin Barnett, in Geraldton, said the redevelopment would expand hospital bed capacity by more than 40 per cent, almost doubling the size of the emergency department and establish an Integrated Mental Health Service.

“Virtually every part of the hospital will be expanded, redeveloped or refurbished, in a generational change that backs this growing region and will further boost community confidence,” he said.

Health Minister John Day said Geraldton’s emergency department was one of the busiest in regional WA.

“Each of the 11 ED treatment bays cares for over 3500 patients a year, more than double the rate at centres like Albany and Broome, so expanding the ED to 21 bays is a high priority,” he said.

“As part of our strategy to bring world-class health care closer to home, Geraldton will benefit from a hospital with 94 overnight beds, three neonatal cots, 33 day spaces and 13 recovery spaces in the Day Procedure Unit, all up a 43-bed increase on current capacity.

“The project builds on recent significant investment in local cancer and kidney disease facilities and will include two new inpatient wards, refurbishment of existing wards, redevelopment of the high dependency and intensive care unit, an additional operating theatre and co-location of day treatment and renal dialysis services.”

Midwest GP Network chairman Dr Ian Taylor welcomed the announcement, but noted it was an election pledge and not a government decision.

“Fantastic. Exactly what we need,” he said.

“I just hope it can be delivered and that there will be no reneging after the election.

“We went through all this four years ago, were promised everything and nothing happened.”

Mental Health Minister Andrea Mitchell said the $49 million Integrated Mental Health Service would offer 12 inpatient beds, a four-bed Mental Health Observation Area in the ED, a four-bed hospital in the home service, plus a 10-bed step-up step-down facility.

The Premier said the hospital rebuild would allow for broader development across the health campus site.

“In future, there is potential for the co-location of private health services on-site and the integration of aged care outpatient facilities,” Mr Barnett said.

“Meanwhile, the planned redevelopment will be staged, to minimise disruption while delivering community benefits as quickly as possible.”

The project would be completed in 2022.

Fact file

Geraldton Hospital is located on the Geraldton Health Campus and has 73 overnight beds and 27 same day beds.

Between 2006-07 and 2014-15, ED presentations increased by 44 per cent, same day stays increased by 74 per cent and multi-day stays increased by 40 per cent.

In 2015-16, Geraldton Hospital recorded 3564 presentations per ED bay, compared with 2057 at Broome and 1817 at Albany.

Between 2012/13 and 2015/16, there was a 13.5 per cent increase in patient ED presentations with alcohol/drug and mental health disorders.

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