State bows to public pressure for ED beds at Geraldton Hospital

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Geoff VivianGeraldton Guardian
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Stage 1 of the Geraldton Health Campus re-development will include 38 new beds.
Camera IconStage 1 of the Geraldton Health Campus re-development will include 38 new beds.

The State Government has bowed to public pressure over issues at the Geraldton Hospital and will add a further four emergency department short-stay beds as part of its scheduled upgrade.

WA Health Minister Roger Cook unveiled details of the $73.3 million redevelopment plans for Geraldton Health Campus last week after a series of reports in the Geraldton Guardian this year on bed shortages.

He said 38 new beds would be included in Stage 1 of the re-development, with construction and commissioning expected to be complete in the first half of 2022.

Member for the Agricultural Region Darren West said the four extra beds would be covered within the available funding.

“Existing beds currently occupied by mental health and high-dependency inpatients on the general ward will become available for general ward patients, providing additional inpatient capacity within the existing hospital,” Mr West said.

He said stage 1 would deliver 12 mental health inpatient unit beds; four mental health short-stay unit beds; eight intensive care beds co-located with the emergency department; and 10 additional emergency department treatment bays.

In January an elderly woman had to lie on the floor of Geraldton Hospital’s emergency department for two hours in an attempt to alleviate her pain.
Camera IconIn January an elderly woman had to lie on the floor of Geraldton Hospital’s emergency department for two hours in an attempt to alleviate her pain. Credit: Neil MacLachlan / Facebook

Mid West GP Network chairman Dr Ian Taylor described this as “fantastic news”.

He said the emergency department needed urgent work and a lot of Geraldton’s health issues were mental health issues which were also being addressed.

“This will hopefully encourage specialist psychiatrists to come to Geraldton,” Dr Taylor said.

“And I am very pleased with the freeing up of the beds.

“It has taken a long time, but someone is finally listening to us.”

Dr Taylor said the three-year time frame was reasonable as no planning, scoping or costing works had been done when Labor came to power.

“The previous government left them nothing and they had to start from scratch,” he said.

Stages 2 and 3 are to be designed to address longer-term demand and the co-location of St John of God Geraldton Hospital onto the GHC site.

Dr Taylor described this provision as “brilliant”.

“Incorporating St Johns, it is going to make a big difference — they can’t say what St Johns will do but at least they are considering them in their future,” he said.

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