Minister rebuffs MP’s health claims

Chloe FraserBusselton Dunsborough Times

Health Minister John Day has rebuffed claims by South West MLC Adele Farina the region is poorly equipped to deal with a “pending health crisis”.

Last week, Ms Farina attacked the State Government, claiming it had failed to fund public health in the South West adequately, leading to “mounting stresses” on Bunbury Hospital.

“Despite having a shiny new hospital, Busselton residents have to travel to Bunbury or Perth for procedures previously performed in Busselton due to the new Busselton hospital being inadequately funded and resourced, quite apart from the recently announced closure of the operating theatres for repairs,” she said.

Last year, the WA Country Health Service confirmed operating theatres at Busselton Health Campus would close from December 17 -February 12 for repairs to ceiling and wall panels in both theatres.

Some surgery had been planned to be relocated to Margaret River Hospital and maternity patients requiring surgery were to be cared for at Bunbury Hospital.

Ms Farina also listed statistics she said were a result of inadequate funding by the Government, claiming in 2013-15 the region reported “significantly more notifiable infections” than other regions under the WA Country Health Service. But Mr Day said Ms Farina’s claims were “incorrect and ignore the facts”.

“In the past five years, the Liberal-led Government has made major capital investments in South West health totalling almost $184 million, plus more than $13 million in grants to aged care services,” he said. “Meanwhile, since 2011 the annual operating budget for the region’s public health services has grown by 51 per cent, from $213.3 million to $322.8 million.”

Mr Day also pointed to the roll-out of technologies such as telehealth, which he said helped expand clinical and outpatient services, with 10 new emergency telehealth centres including facilities at Busselton, Margaret River and Nannup.

“The Government has a strong track record in delivering health infrastructure projects and services and Labor does not,” he said.

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