Health Minister Roger Cook and South Metropolitan Health Service chief executive Paul Forden have spoken out about the potential role Murray District Hospital can play in assisting the Peel Health Campus deal with patients.
The Mandurah Mail started a campaign in March calling for money to be invested in PHC, with subsequent investigation showing the Mandurah hospital had some of the worst emergency department statistics in WA.
While waiting times improved in May and June, Mr Cook told the Mail last week that Peel was a “pressure point” in WA’s health service and he planned to hold a consultation forum in September to address the issue.
He said that Murray District Hospital, which is based on McKay Street in Pinjarra, could play more of a role in relieving the pressure on PHC.
“I’d like to see what role the Murray District Hospital can play,” Mr Cook said.
“It is a great set of buildings – it is not a modern hospital but it does have good facilities there.
“It is 20 minutes down the road from Mandurah, so there are potentially some opportunities for it to play more of a role – but I’ll leave that up to the experts.
“We just need to make sure the Sustainable Health Review can point to some directions that we need to take to have a clear idea about what the future holds.”
Mr Forden said the creation of short-stay assessment beds at PHC had aided ED wait times and led to improved recent performance.
However, he remained doubtful over the role Murray District Hospital could play in helping PHC with patient numbers.
“Murray does take patients from Peel and Rockingham – but Peel’s problems aren’t necessarily bed-based, so Murray cannot solve the problem,” Mr Forden said.
“Murray District is only a small 15-bed hospital and doesn’t have any other services.
“Murray works well for elderly people in post-rehabilitation stage from an acute episode, coming out of Peel or Rockingham.
“Whilst it has the name hospital, it is much more of a rehab centre.”
With Mr Cook’s forum in September to assess Peel’s future health needs, Mr Forden said funding for Murray District would not be his preference.
“Personally I don’t think that would be the right strategy - I think what we need to do is continue to build our services in Peel and in Rockingham to meet the needs of the population,” he said.
“What I wouldn’t want to do is pitch in for something that wouldn’t make a difference. Because the dollars are so scarce we have to make sure we solve the right problems. That’s what I am trying to do through the proper process.
“If we are going to invest resources, I’d rather do it at a hub of activity such as Peel or Rockingham.”