Shadow health minister says Geraldton health staff under pressure “let down” by McGowan Government

Phoebe PinGeraldton Guardian
Liberal Member for Agricultural Steve Martin and shadow health minister Libby Mettam outside Geraldton Health Campus
Camera IconLiberal Member for Agricultural Steve Martin and shadow health minister Libby Mettam outside Geraldton Health Campus Credit: Geraldton Guardian

There are “real concerns” about the ability of the Geraldton Health Campus to respond to a COVID-19 outbreak, says shadow health minister Libby Mettam.

Ms Mettam and Member for the Agricultural Region Steve Martin on Friday visited the hospital, which was the site of a COVID-19 protocol breach earlier this month.

The WA Country Health Service said every “touch point” of the COVID patient — who was transferred to the health campus from the MV Emerald Indah after becoming unwell — during his hospital stay was “appropriate-ly cleaned in line with infec-tion prevention and control measures”.

But Ms Mettam said current demands on the regional health system called into question the capacity of country hospitals to manage a virus emergency.

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“There are real concerns about Geraldton Hospital’s — and other hospitals’ — ability to respond to a COVID-19 outbreak,” Ms Mettam said.

“We have outstanding health staff but unfortunately they have been let down by a McGowan Labor Government who do not feel health is a priority in Geraldton.”

The hospital is undergoing extensive redevelopment, with two new carparks and reconfigured entrances finished last month.

The date of the project’s completion has been pushed back because of the COVID-19 pandemic and constraints on the construction industry from mid-2022 to 2024 — delays Ms Mettam said were unacceptable.

“The McGowan Labor Government needs to illustrate some urgency given we have had 6.7 hours of ambulance ramping at this hospital last month,” Ms Mettam said.

“We have seen promises after promises and yet all this hospital has is a carpark.

“This is a hospital under extreme pressure, and unfortunately all we have is delays by the McGowan Government.”

Member for Geraldton Lara Dalton last month said she was confident the project would help boost hospital capacity once it was completed.

“Yes, we’ve had to look back, redevelop and rethink the plan, but given the conversations with WACHS, I’m pretty confident this will certainly meet the demands by then,” she told ABC Radio.

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