State government forced to reveal Peel Health Campus' funding breakdown

Bulk of WA health minister's hospital cash to be spent on general upkeep over parking and CCTV. Photos: Mandurah Mail file images.
Bulk of WA health minister's hospital cash to be spent on general upkeep over parking and CCTV. Photos: Mandurah Mail file images.

The state government has been left scrambling for answers after their $4.4 million cash injection into the Peel Health Campus, which was earmarked for parking and CCTV, will be mainly spent on general upkeep costs.

In May 2018, West Australian health minister Roger Cook announced the funding boost to the hospital as part of the McGowan government's state budget.

The cash injection was promised to provide "immediate upgrades to the car parking facilities for visitors and staff", "increase overall security and safety through an upgrade of the CCTV system" and "improve the hospital's assets and facilities".

The state government were forced to reveal detailed costings on the project after several questions were put to them in Parliament in early March.

Parliamentary documents have cited that only $856,752, or less than 20 per cent of the total investment, will be spent on the car park expansion. 

Only $230,000 will be spent on upgrades to CCTV and security.

I don't think anyone in the community would be happy with what they read, it's really concerning.

Dawesville MP Zak Kirkup

The remaining $2.9 million will be used to fund maintenance including the replacement of vinyl floor covers, switchboard metering and dishwashers and an audit of hospital assets.

Dawesville MP Zak Kirkup said he was "disappointed" and felt "conned" by Labor's promise to deliver a better car park and safer hospital.

"I think when people would've read the announcement, they would've anticipated the headline budget," Mr Kirkup said.

"They've put a big focus on security, a big focus on the car park and the ED design but what we know is that the actual components they said would be invested in make up less than half of the announced budget.

"I don't think anyone in the community would be happy with what they read, it's really concerning."

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Mr Cook said construction of the car park should be complete by October.

"Work on the car park has commenced and this will add a further 225 car bays, associated access roads, pedestrian paving, street lighting and CCTV," Mr Cook said.

"Peel Health Campus has already completed upgrades to operating theatre lighting and the nurse call system has been replaced.

"Funds have also been allocated to an extensive range of projects including upgrades to the fire alarm system, air conditioning and various electrical works."

Mr Kirkup didn't stop there, the Liberal MP also raised questions about the time frames for construction on the emergency department expansion, which was announced last year.

The Peel Health Campus emergency department expansion is more complex than standard construction projects because it must be undertaken within a working hospital environment.

Health minister Roger Cook

After a long campaign by the Mandurah Mail lobbying for infrastructure expenditure and highlighting the need for additional resources at the Peel Health Campus, the state government revealed further funding to the tune of $5 million in September 2018.

Mr Cook said the money would be used to upgrade the emergency department to include a new fast-track patient triage zone, a redesigned waiting room, new holding bays and the reconfiguration of the existing triage area.

In an interview with the Mail at the time, Mr Cook said it was a project they wanted to "get onto now".

"This is something we are going to work on straight away," he said.

Mr Kirkup said he didn't believe the state government was making Peel Health Campus a priority.

"This doesn't seem like something that was started on 'straight away'. It took them five months to go through consultation/feedback as the minister calls it," the Liberal MP said.

"It's just taking so long and what does that mean for any other future expansion for our hospital?

"The government are developing a bit of a trend where they're very quick to make announcements but then very slow to deliver anything."

However Mr Cook said design consultation and construction was tracking as planned.

"The Peel Health Campus emergency department expansion is more complex than standard construction projects because it must be undertaken within a working hospital environment," he said.

"This requires various regulations and licensing requirements to ensure patient safety and care is maintained while building works are underway."

A South Metropolitan Health Service spokeswoman added that the upgrades would be challenging but are crucial for the Peel region.

"The expansion will improve patient flow, provide greater privacy and create a more pleasant environment in which to be treated," she said.

"The upgrades will ensure PHC remains in a strong position to deliver hospital emergency services to the Peel region, is able to respond to the needs of the growing local community and improves patient flow throughout the campus."

Time frame: What do we know?

  • February 2019 - Consultation and design development begins. Expected to be completed by April 2019.
  • March 2019 - Contract documentation begins. Expected to be completed by June 2019.
  • July 2019 - Procurement begins. Expected to be completed by September 2019.
  • November 2019 - Construction begins. Expected to be completed by April 2020.