CAHS sounds alarm on Health Minister’s Captain’s Call to move Women and Babies Hospital

The Health Minister cannot continue to ignore the concerns of child health experts after a damning Child and Adolescent Health Service (CAHS) paper highlighted an increased risk of death and disability to babies from the decision to relocate the new Women’s and Babies Hospital to Murdoch.

The draft position paper states:
CAHS is sounding the alarm and raising a red flag of this extreme risk. The only mitigation of this risk is tri-location.

Shadow Health Minister Libby Mettam said it was outrageous that the Health Minister was forging ahead with her Captain’s Call to build this hospital at Murdoch, 20 kilometres from PCH, given the risk to babies’ lives.

The paper makes it clear that child health experts do not support the move to Murdoch and asks:
Who will own the critical risk of increased death and disability to neonates that the decision to locate the NWBH to the Murdoch site will bring?

“The Minister has been unequivocally warned that babies could die as a result of this decision,” Ms Mettam said.

“It is unconscionable that she would proceed with this risky move given the depth of serious concern raised by clinical health professionals.

“Forging ahead with such a dangerous plan, regardless of the risks highlighted by the government’s own child health experts is reckless and arrogant.

“The Minister is not a doctor or a child health specialist. She is not qualified to make this decision without consulting any health experts, advocates or clinical specialists. She is showing a reckless disregard for what CAHS highlights as overwhelming risks.

“The paper also calls out the Minister’s dismissive remarks about concerns stating it’s not a ‘few unhappy doctors’ and the depth of concern by senior clinical experts remains significant.”

Ms Mettam said for the government’s own department to raise grave concerns about the call speaks volumes about the decision.

The report once again highlighted the dire risks to the 200 neonatal babies that require urgent transportation to PCH each year, stating the option around extra neonatal subspecialties at Murdoch DOES NOT mitigate the risks.

“The report clearly states that neonatal surgery is complex, highly specialised and cannot simply be replicated at the Murdoch precinct. There is not the specialist workforce, they have to be transported to PCH.

“Unless the Minister is now planning to move the tertiary children’s hospital to Murdoch, the only option should be tri-location with PCH and an adult tertiary hospital at QEII.

“This is the only option that will mitigate the dire clinical risks and should not be ignored.”