AMA (WA) calls for transparency and accountability over Women and Babies Hospital decision | AMA (WA)

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Neonatal - woman and baby

AMA (WA) calls for transparency and accountability over Women and Babies Hospital decision

Thursday April 20, 2023

The decision to move the proposed new Women and Babies Hospital from the Queen Elizabeth II (QEII) Medical Centre site to Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) was against the recommendation of the Reid Report (A Healthy Future for Western Australians: Report of the Health Reform Committee, 2004) and against international best practice of co-locating Women, Newborns and Paediatrics.

AMA (WA) President Dr Mark Duncan-Smith said healthcare professionals were completely blindsided by the decision.

“Neonatologists are concerned the care and lives of time-critical, severely sick newborns will be compromised by the increase in transfer times from 2 to 20 minutes as a consequence of the move,” he said.

“They also reject assertions by the McGowan Government that improved neonatal transfer services will address this issue, also advising that these services are already excellent.

“The reasons for the change provided by the McGowan Government thus far are not new and have been apparent for years including parking, infrastructure overload and the need to carry on business as usual. The only new reason is the speeding up of the build and completion date by 3-4 years to 2029, that serendipitously coincides with when the McGowan Government will be attempting a rarely awarded fourth term.”

Dr Duncan-Smith said that at some stage in the process, a clandestine group must have developed a business plan for the move to FSH, that was approved by Cabinet.

“The AMA (WA) calls on the McGowan Government to release the business plan for the move to QEII that was rejected, and the business plan for the move to FSH that was accepted. The process thus far has been opaque and is alienating healthcare professionals,” he said.

“Ultimately, this issue is about what is best for the people of Western Australia, and the ability to receive safe and quality healthcare delivery.

“The people of Western Australia deserve transparency on this important decision.

“Transparency will provide the reassurance that the future safe and quality healthcare of such an important part of our society is not being compromised based on political expediency.”