KALEEYA Hospital in East Fremantle will close at the end of next year and local mums and pollies are pretty upset about it.
Late last week WA health minister Kim Hames said services such as obstetrics, gynaecology and neo-natal services would shift to Fiona Stanley in Murdoch.
The news—which was widely anticipated—will bring to an end more than a century of maternity services in East Fremantle.
The former Labor government closed Woodside maternity hospital but bought then-private Kaleeya to keep maternity services in the area.
Dr Hames says there’ll be no job losses when the 75-bed hospital closes.
Clare Hew, whose son Ryan was born at Kaleeya seven weeks ago, says she would’ve given birth in the car if she’d had to travel further.
“It was great experience, as far as the whole child birth experience goes,” the South Freo resident laughed.
“In the public system you are encouraged to labour at home as long as possible and that would’ve been doable if I had to travel further.
“And I was born at Woodside, so there has been a long history of a maternity hospital being there.”
‘those undergoing straightforward care have lost an ideal local option that has provided outstanding services’ Simone McGurk
Jess Stocker’s three children were at the hospital and she says it’s a “real shame” it’s closing.
“It’s a small hospital so you get to know the midwives and you get to see familiar faces,” she says.
“It’s a shame to lose a small community-based hospital for a bigger hospital, because you become more of a number.
“And my understanding is there will be less maternity beds at Fiona Stanley so I don’t really see how there will be better services.”
Fremantle Labor MP Simone McGurk says Kaleeya should remain open: “It is an ideal facility for uncomplicated births and elective surgery and its small intimate setting is often preferred over the sterile environment of some other facilities.
“Mothers-to-be will lose an outstanding local facility that offered a number of maternity services for those who desire a range of birthing options.”
She says it’s critical that mums-to-be and people awaiting elective surgery have options in the southern suburbs.
“The new Fiona Stanley Hospital will provide appropriate care for women experiencing complicated births,” she says.
“However, those undergoing straightforward care have lost an ideal local option that has provided outstanding services to the Fremantle community.”
by BRENDAN FOSTER