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I

was reading the new Minister for

Health Roger Cook’s interview

with AMA (WA) President

Dr Andrew Miller in

Medicus

last

month. One of the few tangible health

policies offered by either side in

the State Election just passed were

medihotels.

I was therefore gobsmacked to see

that so far we are not sure if they will

be standalone or rented hotel rooms,

what they might cost, and if they

might even be operating by the next

election?

Perhaps even more surprising was the

complete lack of any mention of the

second largest hospital in our State and

the major provider of most quaternary/

state services, Sir Charles Gairdner.

It is possible that the North

Metropolitan Health Service said it

wasn’t interested, although I suspect

not and certainly it has never been

mentioned publicly. Or perhaps it is

a continuation of the pervasive and

perverse fixation in politics – where

they see problems is where they focus

attention and resources.

Meanwhile the rest of the system

is left to decay. It is however wholly

disillusioning to all those who work at

the most stable acute tertiary hospital,

with the most state-based services

and one that supported the system

through the last few years of turmoil,

that we seem to inhabit a virtually

complete blind spot for politicians and

senior system managers.

It may be that this invisibility is a

good thing in this instance. Perhaps

medihotels will be complete lemons,

but this oversight is completely

symptomatic of an ongoing inability for

senior decision makers to undertake

whole-of-system thinking. Their

continued poor support for, and almost

deliberate ignorance of one of their

most stable and functional resources is

both galling and tragic.

It is high time to look after all the parts

of our health system, making sure we

maintain the healthier components

as well as spending resources on the

ailing or politically problematic.

No room for Charlies in medihotel plan

Associate Professor David Mountain

Emergency Medicine Physician

Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital

S O A P B O X