Parents want rethink on ‘reckless’ new Perth baby hospital location

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Calls to backflip on the location of Western Australia’s new $1.8 billion Women and Babies Hospital are growing louder, with parent support groups adding their voices.

A petition to shift the new Hospital from Murdoch, some 19 kilometers from Perth Children’s Hospital, is now being spearheaded by Liberal leader Libby Mettam, who says 40 babies a year could die if the plan goes ahead.

Born at just 24 weeks, Noah was parents’ Brad and Sarah Givern’s miracle but nine days into his delicate life, they were dealt a heartbreaking decision.

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Noah was rushed three kilometers from King Edward Memorial Hospital to Perth Children’s Hospital, a quick trip that saved his life.

“That afternoon we had to made a decision whether to have surgery. We very lucky he survived and we were very lucky the hospital staff had the option to send him so quickly,” Brad Givern said.

“If the baby hospital was over at Fiona Stanley (Hospital, in Murdoch) they wouldn’t have made the transfer and our child wouldn’t have survived.”

They want the new Women and Babies Hospital built at QEII Medical Centre next door to the children’s Hospital not Fiona Stanley Hospital as planned, and are part of a growing chorus calling for a backflip.

“Why would you move NICU to the other side, it needs to be next to the children’s hospital,” Ms Givern said.

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Mettam has launched a petition, doubling down on the Australian Medical Association’s calls for a tri-location, sandwiching the maternity hospital between one for children and adults.

“Just because this site is challenging doesn’t mean it cannot be achieved,” she said.

Every year about 40 babies are transported from King Edward Memorial Hospital to Perth Children’s Hospital for time critical surgery.

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Stakeholders say their lives would be at risk of disability or death if that journey was to Fiona Stanley Hospital.

Joanne Beedie from Helping Little Hands, which supports parents of premature babies, called the idea “reckless”.

“Adding a 20-kilometre distance, ambulance transport is unacceptable,” she said.

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Despite Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson admitting previously the best plan would be a hospital on the QEII site, the government has held firm to the plan.

From emergency logistics to parking, the list of reasons behind the move keep growing, but the business case remains to be seen.


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