Premier Colin Barnett has sought to end criticism of delays and budget blowouts at the new $2 billion Fiona Stanley Hospital, saying it’s time the state’s greatest achievement was recognised.The new 783 bed hospital was officially opened this morning with the first patients due to be admitted tomorr
The new 783 bed hospital was officially opened this morning with the first patients due to be admitted tomorrow when the State Rehabilitation Centre opens.
However, the opening is six months behind the initial opening date planned for April this year, which has cost the government an additional $100 million - much of that paid to hospital operator Serco.
During official opening proceedings this morning Health Minister Kim Hames labelled the April target as “impractical” and later told media he was taking responsibility for the expensive ramifications of pushing the opening back.
“There was a blowout, the blowout was caused by the delay of six months … which was in the order of $30 million, plus the additional costs for phasing the opening,” Dr Hames said.
“The total additional cost was less than $100 million that was unexpected.
“That was there because I made the decision to delay the hospital and to phase the opening for the safety of patients … I wear that, but this is a $2 billion job, just have a look at some of the other jobs under the previous government and what they blowout by.”
Dr Hames rejected accusations made by Labor that the blowout was in the order of $370 million.
“The large component of that $350 million so-called blowout was just money that was taken out (of the budget) that was given back,” Dr Hames said.
Mr Barnett said he acknowledged there had been some issues, but indicated he was fed up with the criticism.
“There has been some criticism and public debate about some of the issues relating to the construction and finally the commission of this hospital,” Mr Barnett said.
“That is not surprising in a project this large and this complex.
“Whilst I acknowledge the role of debate and criticism and questioning … enough is enough. This is one of the great achievements of Western Australia and the greatest achievement of our health system to this point in our history.”
The first 100 patients will move from the State Rehabilitation Centre in Shenton Park to the new facility tomorrow, while other services such as pathology and pharmacy will open in the following weeks.
The next phase of tertiary services to be opened will be obstetrics, gynaecology and neonatal which will be transferred from Kaleeya Hospital in November.
The third phase will be the emergency department transferring from Fremantle Hospital in February next year.
The commissioning team said the recruitment drive for staff was going well, despite challenges with obtaining the appropriate skills.
As Business News reported this morning, the health department has launched an international recruitment campaign for specialties such as nurses and midwives, despite indications some existing clinical staff are being made redundant without redeployment options.