Women and Babies Hospital business case fails to justify the decision to move project to Murdoch

The Cook Labor Government’s business case into the new Women and Newborn Hospital has failed to justify the Health Minister’s captain’s call to move the project to Murdoch.

Shadow Health Minister Libby Mettam said far from being a supporting document, the business case states that co-locating the hospital with the Perth Children’s Hospital at QEII in Nedlands would provide the best outcomes for women and newborns.

“Nowhere in this business case does it state that moving the hospital to a site 20km down the road could address some of the challenges,” Ms Mettam said.

“The business case states that the north site at QEII is the preferred location due to its clear alignment with a future proofing strategy at QEII.

“I’m yet to see any supporting evidence that the Murdoch site is preferrable and this report only re iterates what we already know – this was a Captain’s call made behind closed doors without any consultation or justification.

“It’s clear the Health Minister is clutching at straws by ordering Infrastructure WA to review a decision to justify why she has thrown 10 years of consultation and research – and millions of taxpayers’ dollars – out of the window and ignored all the advice from clinicians warning this will lead to dire outcomes for women and their newborn babies.

“Not co-locating this hospital with the Perth Children’s Hospital at QEII in Nedlands is a reckless decision that has been made on a whim under a cloak of secrecy.”

Ms Mettam said traffic and disruption issues were well known when the project was announced at QEII and could not now be the reason this project was moved.

“The former Health Minister and now Premier Roger Cook said in 2019 that it will be a difficult project at QEII but one we need to do – what has changed?” Ms Mettam asked.

“It was extraordinary to also hear the Minister talk about a blow out in cost to the project and points to this government’s priorities.

“The government is happy to spend billions extra on a train project but $228m extra on a flagship health facility is too much. Why is this government cutting corners on health infrastructure?”

Ms Mettam said if the Premier wants to show he is consultative and listening – he should listen to advocacy groups like Helping Little Hands and reverse the decision to build the new WABH at Murdoch.

“The Health Minister completely blindsided the entire WA health community when she made this call Health advocacy groups have highlighted that at least 40 babies born every year at King Edward Memorial Hospital require critical same-day surgery and 200 babies a year require urgent transportation.

“For our sickest and smallest babies and their families, asking them to travel 20kms from Murdoch to Nedlands to receive urgent lifesaving treatment is associated with increased mortality and morbidity.

“The Opposition believes that without co-location of the two hospitals, there is likely to be increased death and life-long disability rates of our most vulnerable babies and it is completely incomprehensible that the two hospitals would not be built together if there is the option to do that.”