Geraldton hospital needs upgrade urgently

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This letter has previously been published in the Midwest Times.

I was bitterly disappointed to read Geraldton MLA Ian Blayney has pulled away from his pre-election undertaking to resolve our appallingly inadequate public hospital here in Geraldton in the first term of the present government. (Midwest Times April 18.) It is easy to play the blame game and point the finger at the Federal Government for the lack of funding, especially when Nicola Roxon, former Federal Health Minister, assured me four years ago at a public meeting at the hospital that she was acutely aware of the problem and something would be done. Well, not surprisingly, that hasn’t happened, with repeated knockbacks for funding since from the “Feds”.

The hospital was poorly designed and downsized compared to the original, with input from the professionals who were to use the building ignored. At present our Emergency Department is too small and under pressure with long waiting times, patients awaiting transfer back from Perth hospitals languish there due to lack of bed availability here, there is still no dedicated inpatient mental health unit, and maternity patients often find themselves overflowing onto the General Ward, already overstretched due to lack of beds.

Based on how long it took to plan and deliver the current hospital, if nothing is budgeted or planned for soon, it will be eight to ten years before any improvement to our public hospital materialises. The consequences for patient care here in Geraldton are frightening. We cannot afford to wait for Federal funding to sort this mess out. It is time to fight for your constituent’s health needs Mr Blayney!