A crowd of more than 100 residents gathered at a health forum organised by Mandurah MP David Templeman on Tuesday, many calling for a say in health planning and more local services in the region.
Mr Templeman said he organised the community event so the views of locals could form part of the health department’s review of services currently under way around Western Australia.
The forum was facilitated by former mayor Paddi Creevey and included Peel Health Campus chief Margaret Sturdy, GP Down South’s Eleanor Britton, Rupert Backhouse from the Peel Youth Medical Service and representatives from Mandurah and Murray local government and WA’s primary health networks.
Mr Templeman said a clear theme to emerge from the forum was the need for more health services delivered locally to reduce the travel burden on patients.
“It’s about local services that are delivered locally and the impact that having to travel for services that should be provided here has on people's emotional, physical and financial well-being,” he said.
“The more services we can locate here the less of a burden financially, mentally and physically on patients.”
The extent of services provided by the Peel Health Campus was also at issue after plans for its expansion were put on hold.
“We need a plan that talks about expansion of bed numbers at Peel Health Campus,” Mr Templeman said.
“We need to use the opportunity a five-year extension of the contract delivers us to talk about the best model and lever that to get a commitment from government of either persuasion about expansion.
“The demand is already there for a big expansion of the hospital in bed numbers and a doubling of the emergency department, which is already over the capabilities it was designed for when the last expansion took place.”
He said community input into the Department of Health's clinical services review was critical and this was the first time the community had been asked to have it’s say on health planning in the region.
Ms Creevey said it was clear people wanted to be heard on what kinds of health services are available in the Peel region.
“I think what they're concerned about is they're not involved in any of the planning,” she said.
“The Peel region is lumped in with the metropolitan area; you're not in the metropolitan area if you're in Dwellingup or Waroona or Pinjarra.
“We have to really have the people who make decisions about out health come down and talk to us about their plans and that's why we're asking that the South Metropolitian Health Board come down and have a conversation with this community.”
Ms Sturdy said input from the community was important when the Peel Health Campus reformulated its expansion plans.
She said the hospital had consulted widely when preparing the development proposal three years ago.
“We'll go back to scratch with that development proposal because we need to redo the numbers, but I think it's been really helpful,” she said.