Peel Health Campus back in the spotlight over wait times

Funding for Peel Health Campus (PHC) was again under the spotlight in state parliament on Thursday, when Dawesville MP Zak Kirkup debated Health Minister Roger Cook over new figures showing the hospital was slipping further behind on emergency wait times.

Mr Kirkup told parliament only half of all highest urgency emergency patients were seen within two minutes, half of its target of 100 per cent.

PHC also fell further behind in meeting the “four-hour rule” rule, which requires emergency departments to treat patients in less than four hours.

Only 63 per cent of patients were treated in under four hours in September, which is less than the 65.7 per cent recorded from January to June.

The government requires 90 per cent of emergency patients to be treated in under four hours.

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“Since the hospital has opened, no substantial expansion has been made to Peel Health Campus,” Mr Kirkup told parliament.

“That is in contrast with the population in the Mandurah and Peel region – its population has more than doubled in size. Put simply, when Peel Health Campus first opened, the population of the region was somewhere around 60,000.

“The population now stands at 130,000 and the hospital still has the same number of adult beds.”

Mr Kirkup invited Mr Cook to “spend an hour or two with me and tour the emergency department on a Saturday night”.

“The Peel Health Campus is crying out for more investment and in the absence of any commitment, I ask the government to, at the very least, take a more serious active interest in what is happening at Peel,” he said.

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Mr Cook denied the hospital was in crisis or that locals had lost confidence in the hospital, but he said the Sustainable Health Review would look at “what we need to do to expand the Peel hospital”.

“Peel Health Campus is a hospital under pressure because of the growth of the population,” he said.

“Some of that pressure was taken off by the expansion of Rockingham and obviously the commissioning of Fiona Stanley Hospital in the past few years, but that pressure will now start to build.

“We need to be aware that Peel hospital into the future will need to be subject to some expansion plans and we need a review of the way we deliver services across the whole Peel and Murray-Wellington district, understanding where the population growth will be and understanding what the needs of that population will be and ensuring that we have the services in place.”

Up for debate: Health Minister Roger Cook says the Sustainable Health Review will look at resourcing the Peel Health Campus.

Up for debate: Health Minister Roger Cook says the Sustainable Health Review will look at resourcing the Peel Health Campus.

Mr Cook also said the PHC’s children’s ward, which was partly paid for by community fundraising efforts, was “heavily underutilised”.

PHC chief executive Margaret Sturdy did not comment on the parliamentary debate but said the hospital was waiting for the outcome of the Sustainable Health Review.

“We are very fortunate with the calibre of the staff working at Peel Health Campus and their dedication to providing great care and service to this community,” she said.

“From the point of view of the utilisation of the children’s ward, we are actually meeting the acute and elective needs of this community.

“The occupancy of the children’s ward varies significantly from day to day and through the seasons.”