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Libs turn up heat on QEH air con disaster

The cancellation of hundreds of elective surgery procedures at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in the past fortnight has prompted the State Liberals to call for plans to change services at the QEH to be re-examined.

Shadow Minister for Health Stephen Wade is concerned that the transfer of rehabilitation services to the Hospital at the same time as the gutting of certain specialist medical services will overwhelm an already struggling hospital.

“Residents in the western suburbs need access to quality health care services but they are not going to get that if Labor proceeds with their dangerous health cuts plan,” said Mr Wade.

“In the past fortnight hundreds of elective surgery patients have been turned away from the QEH as a result of air conditioning problems.

“As the Hospital struggles to meet patients’ needs during hot conditions, the last thing we should be doing is shuffling services without addressing basic hospital infrastructure like air-conditioning.

“In September the Parliament’s Public Works Committee reviewed the Government’s plans to spend $20 million to cram additional services into the current footprint of the Hospital, at the same time as it is losing 28 beds.

“The cancellation of around 200 surgery cases over the past two weeks due to a faulty air conditioner has raised serious doubts that the rest of the hospital under stress can absorb the displaced services.

“Rather than find the $250,000 needed to fix the air-conditioning, an administrator reportedly told staff that management was 'waiting for the weather to improve' before elective surgery would recommence.

“People come from far and wide for surgery so it is extremely disruptive and distressing for many people.”

At the last election, the State Labor Government promised to spend $125 million to rebuild the QEH but those plans were cancelled as a part of Labor’s Transforming Health.

“Now the only money being spent is to provide facilities that will be abandoned with the closure of St Margaret’s and Hampstead Hospital,” said Mr Wade.