CLOSING Fremantle Hospital’s emergency department the same day Fiona Stanley’s opens will create chaos, warns local pollie Simone McGurk.
The state Fremantle Labor MP says Freo’s ED will close February 3 with patients transferred to the new Murdoch-based hospital.
Kaleeya maternity hospital closes earlier, on December 2. The Alma Street mental health clinic stays put.
“It’s going to be chaotic,” Ms McGurk told the Herald. “To commission Fiona Stanley on the same day is risky, particularly for patients.”
WA health minister Kim Hames says Fremantle’s transition from a tertiary to specialist hospital was first earmarked in 2004—by the previous state Labor government.
The move to Fiona Stanley is “being meticulously planned to ensure minimal disruption to both patients and community”.
Dr Hames says there will be no chaos and he is “disappointed in the scaremongering campaign being run by the opposition”.
“A lot of the community don’t realise Fremantle is losing this crucial service.”
A government memo says Fremantle will be an “empty space” by the end of the day.
Remodelling of its former ED will start shortly after as part of the hospital’s downsizing, from a 450-bed tertiary class to a 300-bed specialist campus.
“I believe there is a strong argument for an emergency facility to be retained at Fremantle Hospital,” Ms McGurk says. “WA Labor went to the last state election committing to retain an emergency facility.
“A lot of the community don’t realise Fremantle is losing this crucial service. We are in the centre of an entertainment precinct and a working port so an emergency medical facility is essential.”
Kaleeya’s 24-bed ward and its maternity, neonatal and gynaecological services will start shifting in November.
The government memo states all permanent staff will be considered for transfer to an equivalent position at Fiona Stanley. If there are fewer staff seeking placement than positions available, staff will transfer automatically. But if there are more staff than positions available, a merit-based selection process will be conducted.
by CARMELO AALFI