Mothballed $25 million Osborne Park neonatal unit: “Not a good look”

Western Australia’s health sector problems have gone from bad to worse under the poor leadership of Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson with reports the $25 million neonatal unit at Osborne Park Hospital has sat idle for three years since it opened in 2020.

Leader of the WA Liberal Party and Shadow Health Minister Libby Mettam said this can be added to the long list of health failures by the McGowan Labor Government and incompetent Health Minister.

“It is alarming this facility is yet to admit a single newborn and medical supplies originally bought for the unit are now approaching their expiry dates,” Ms Mettam said.

“No amount of spin is going to allow Health Minister Sanderson to get away with this mess.

To claim this is a ‘shell’ ward is completely unacceptable and Western Australians deserve better.

“The fact that the McGowan Labor Government have failed to open the recently completed neonatal facilities at Osborne Park because they can’t staff them raises real concerns about this government’s ability to deliver expanded health services.

“At a time when maternity bypasses are an ongoing concern with over 320 bypasses in the 12 months to November last year, its simply defies any logic that there are beds available that are unable to be utilised.

“This comes down to poor management – the WA Labor Government has simply failed to allocate any money to operate and staff the facility.”

Even her ministerial colleague Rita Saffioti agreed, calling it “not a good look” in response to questions.

This follows the WA Labor Government’s decision last week to scrap the new women’s and babies hospital at QEII, instead opting to build a new maternity facility at Fiona Stanley Hospital, which blindsided WA’s health experts.

“The McGowan Government’s abandoned QEII co-location plan is also a significant departure from best practise as well as the recommendations of both the Reid Report and Sustainable Health Review,” Ms Mettam said.

“The decision to move this facility at the last minute no longer allows for the cohesive integration between paediatric, gynaecological, neonatal and antenatal services and separates the specialised health needs of women and children across multiple sites.”

Health Minister Sanderson is going from one bad week to the next. It’s about time she got up to speed on her brief and started to deliver the health outcomes and facilities Western Australians deserve.