Perth Children’s Hospital will need ‘two extra floors’

Perth’s new children’s hospital will be called… Perth Children’s Hospital. Photo: Aleisha OrrWestern Australia’s health minister ruled out building an additional floor at Perth’s new children’s hospital on Monday morning as he announced the facility’s new name.

The hospital will be known as Perth Children’s Hospital, the original name of Princess Margaret Hospital.

Health minister Kim Hames said the hospital would have 48 more beds than the existing PMH.

This will bring bed numbers to 298, an increase on the 274 originally announced for the hospital currently being built next to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and due for completion in 2015.

But the announcement has been labelled a ‘sad day’ for WA families by Australian Medical Association vice president Michael Gannon, who described the extra 24 beds as a “short-term plan” that would not “future proof” the hospital.

“This is a sad day for Western Australia, this is a sad day for our kids, a sad day for our families, this was a once in a generation opportunity to get it right,” he said.

“The government had a chance to make a hospital that would last 50 or 60 years and they’ve missed the chance.”

Dr Gannon said extra capacity would be required within five years of the hospital’s completion.

He said while the extra 24 beds were good news but he was worried where the space for those beds came from.

“What have we missed out on to make room for those beds,” he said.

Dr Gannon said the only opportunity to “future proof” the hospital was to add an extra 100 beds in addition to the existing plan.

“Now is the time to put the two extra floors,” he said.

The government has committed $35 million to create an extra 24-bed surgical ward which will be included as part of a reconfiguration of floor space.

Premier Colin Barnett admitted that the recent downgrading in the state’s AAA credit rating did play some role in the decision but said it was decided that extra floors were not needed.

He said beds for children in other hospitals throughout Perth meant there was sufficient capacity to deal with demand and pointed out that the hospital also had capacity for extra floors to be added in the future.

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