$40m boost for rural health

WA RURAL areas are gaining a $7.5 million injection for new medical and theatre equipment, upgrading health service facilities and new and improved accommodation for regional health workers.

The funding is part of a $40 million statewide boost for hospitals and health services coming from the sale of AlintaGas.

The bulk of the money – $5 million – is going towards providing staff housing in the Kimberley, Pilbara, Goldfields, Mid-West and Wheatbelt regions.

Health Minister John Day said it was easier to keep doctors and nurses in a rural community if quality housing was available.

Another $2.5 million goes towards medical equipment, enhancing the Rural Theatre Upgrade Program, upgrading equipment in rural emergency centres and providing $500,000 for the purchase of endoscopes for hospitals.

The benefits to the regions, including staff accommodation funding include:

* Gascoyne – $98,253;

* Goldfields-Esperance – $1.207 million;

* Great Southern – $85,466;

* Kimberley – $2.27 million;

* Mid-West – $170,536;

* Peel – $18,340;

* Pilbara – $1.875 million;

* South West – $733,405; and

* Wheatbelt – $788,782.

Besides the rural health spending, the WA Government is spending $6.3 million on upgrading King Edward Memorial Hospital – including lodging for country families.

Another $7.5 million is being spent on the new PET clinical imaging technology proposed for Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital. The closest similar service is in Adelaide.

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