Roger Cook to host Peel Health Campus forum as call for funding grows

Pressure point: Health Minister Roger Cook will host a forum in Mandurah in September to assess the future needs of Peel Health Campus.
Pressure point: Health Minister Roger Cook will host a forum in Mandurah in September to assess the future needs of Peel Health Campus.

Health Minister Roger Cook has admitted facilities at Peel Health Campus “probably fall short of community expectations” and will host a consultation forum in Mandurah in September to identify what funding the hospital requires in the next State Budget.

The Mandurah Mail started a campaign in March calling for money to be invested in the hospital.

PHC was subsequently granted $4.4 million in the 2018/19 State Budget to be used to upgrade the facility’s car park, CCTV technology and to enhance the hospital’s lock-down capabilities.

However, the Mail has since reported PHC’s emergency department waiting times have been among the worst in WA.

Mr Cook said Peel was a pressure point in WA’s health service.

“(Mandurah MLA) David Templeman and I have spent some time in the ED on a Friday night watching the process, the people coming through, the pressure the ED was under and the facilities that the public had to endure,” he said.

“We are certainly struck by the need to continue to invest in the Peel hospital. 

“The ED itself has actually had a reduction in the number of presentations over the last 12 months. Not withstanding that, the standard of the facilities probably falls short of community expectations.

“Ultimately we need to decide what the long-term future holds for Peel Health Campus – and that is why we are doing this round table in September.”

The forum in Mandurah will take place on September 19 as part of the Sustainable Health Review, with key stakeholders to discuss the region’s future health needs .

South Metropolitan Health Service chief executive Paul Forden has been working with PHC’s operator, Ramsay Health Care, to streamline services.

He said operational changes had led to positive recent results but the facility’s future needs were now in the spotlight.

“Ramsay have a contract that runs until 2023 – if they put a considerable amount of capital in it, and don’t win that contract, it creates all kinds of complexities for the Government,” Mr Forden said.

“I don’t think the answer is for Ramsay to be the investor of capital – I think that would more sensibly have to come from the State.

“What I am doing with Ramsay is seeing exactly what level of investment is required over the short, medium and long term. What we will then have to do is map the appropriate source of funding to that investment.”

When quizzed on whether PHC would be funded in the next State Budget, Mr Cook said the hospital was an important community asset.

“That is obviously a conversation I have to have with the Department of Treasury,” he said.

“But, what we would like to see is the hospital working a bit better and making it a bit more comfortable for staff and patients in the short-term.

“And then, ultimately, what more we can do to continue to invest in the hospital to improve it to meet the needs of the community into the future.”