July 27, 2015
I want to talk about a serious public health matter in Geraldton. The Geraldton regional hospital is the only public hospital in Geraldton and serves as the nearest hospital for many regional towns throughout the Mid West. The current 70-bed facility was built to replace the old 120-bed facility in 2005. This meant that the size of the hospital was inadequate from day one. In the last few years, there has also been a spike in emergency cases and a higher demand for in-patient services. The hospital does not have an acute psychiatric unity, which limits the ability to provide care for involuntary patients and provides a risk for patients and also concerns for staff.
I invited the Minister for Health, Sussan Ley, to visit the hospital following her appointment to the portfolio in December to discuss possible solutions to meet the health needs of the Mid West. I am confident the minister will visit the electorate within the year. I understand the state government and the St John of God hospital have been discussing a potential public-private solution which would see an increase in the use of the private hospital beds by public patients. This sounds very sensible to me, and I call on the state government to accelerate their discussions so that this issue surrounding insufficient hospital beds available in Geraldton and in the broader Mid West region can be resolved urgently.