King Edward Memorial Hospital in Subiaco to be closed, new hospital built at QEII Medical Centre

Updated April 10, 2019 16:05:45

Health Minister Roger Cook has announced Perth’s King Edward Memorial Hospital will be moved to the Queen Elizabeth II Medical Centre in Nedlands, as part of a plan for the future of health care in WA.

Key points:

  • King Edward has been Perth’s main maternity hospital for 102 years
  • The ageing site will be relocated to the QEII Medical Centre starting in 2021
  • The announcement was made as part of a major WA sustainable health review

Mr Cook told a business breakfast this morning there would be $3.3 million in the coming May state budget to begin planning for the relocation.

He said he expected construction of the relocated King Edward hospital to begin in the next term of a McGowan Government, if it was re-elected in 2021.

“I think in reality once we’ve started the planning process and then engaged in the detailed planning, that we’re looking at the second term of the Government,” he said.

The Minister acknowledged staff were working in “sub-optimal” conditions at the 102-year-old site in Subiaco.

“King Edward Memorial Hospital served the WA Community well for more that 100 years, but it’s time to think about the next 100 years,” he said.

Mr Cook said the new maternity hospital would not be integrated into the site and share some services with others hospitals there, such as catering.

It is less than a year since Perth Children’s Hospital opened at the QEII Medical Centre and patients from Princess Margaret Hospital moved across.

Major health report handed down

Mr Cook made the announcement while outlining details of the long-awaited Sustainable Health Review report into the future of WA’s health system.

According to the report, 7 per cent of hospital admissions were potentially avoidable, and 200,000 of the presentations to emergency departments last year could have been dealt with by general practitioners.

It comes as the Government begins an audit of increased ambulance ramping outside hospital emergency departments.

The head of Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital’s emergency department, Peter Allely, also recently warned there would be more “avoidable deaths” at that hospital if “unsafe work conditions” and understaffing were not addressed.

The Government said $26.4 million would be set aside for initial projects recommended in the report to ease some of the pressures on hospitals, with an emphasis on community-based care and prevention.

These included a home-first model of care to help people who do not need an acute hospital bed to return home for assessment by a doctor, and a “one-stop shop” for children and families to receive child health, development and mental health services.

There would also be a 20-bed medical respite centre for homeless people who might otherwise be admitted to hospital, and a “safe cafe” to give support for people with non-acute mental health issues.

Push to halt rise in obesity

The Government has endorsed all 30 of the review’s recommendations, and said it would place a priority on stopping the rise in obesity in WA by 2024 and reducing harm from alcohol by 10 per cent by 2024.

The report has set a target for WA to have the highest percentage of its population with a healthy weight among all states by July 2029.

Mr Cook said to that end, spending in prevention would be increased to 5 per cent of the total health budget by 2029, to more than $440 million per year.

The report also recommended the need for a greater focus on mental health services, with investment in intervention, community care and acute care, recovery services and alcohol and other drug services.

‘Little detail’ in health plan: AMA

But the Australian Medical Association (AMA) immediately criticised the plan as failing to provide a blueprint for the future of health in WA, saying it was instead “a high-level strategic plan with little detail and no funding forecasts”.

AMA president Omar Khorshid said the real test would be in the state budget, which would need to provide funding to implement some of the recommendations.

Dr Khorshid said it was laudable the review aimed to keep more people out of hospitals, but there was also a need to keep expanding capacity in the system.

He said that meant funding was needed for more beds in hospitals.

The review also recommended the majority of outpatient consultations in both country and metropolitan areas be conducted by video conference by 2029.

Dr Khorshid said Telehealth made sense for regional patients but was problematic in the city.

“Certainly, our belief is that it is unrealistic to expect normal health care to be delivered electronically and in fact it is in our view every patient’s right to see a doctor when they need to see a doctor,” he said.

The report also called on the Government to continue pursuing a sugar tax on sweetened drinks at a national level and to set a floor price on alcohol to curb problem drinking.

Topics: pregnancy-and-childbirth, healthcare-facilities, health, health-policy, womens-health, government-and-politics, states-and-territories, perth-6000, nedlands-6009, subiaco-6008, wa

First posted April 10, 2019 11:52:19

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