Western Australia’s shadow health minister Roger Cook has accused the government of pulling money out of mental health to pay for cost overruns in the IT fit-out of the Fiona Stanley Hospital.
Cook used this week’s budget estimates session to accuse Health Minister Kim Hames of “cancelling the building of beds at Osborne Park Hospital and subsequently the Graylands Hospital redevelopment because of his mismanagement of the ICT issues at Fiona Stanley Hospital”.
Budget papers show that $18.5 million out of the Health Department’s asset investment program has been ‘reprioritised’ to partially pay for a $40 million top up in funding for the new facility, which has incurred additional technology costs due to a six month delay in establishing clinical systems.
The money includes $14.3 million taken out of the state’s plans to provide 50 new mental health beds at its Osborne Park Hospital, to take the pressure off the Graylands hospital as it undergoes a phased redevelopment.
The state has also taken $3.7 million out of the Joondalup Health Campus redevelopment and $500,000 out of general capital works at the Princess Margaret Hospital.
Cook challenged the Minister to admit that the blowout came "at the expense of mental health patients at Graylands”.
Hames denied services were being stripped to pay for the Fiona Stanley troubles.
Chief executive of the North Metropolitan Health Service, Dr Shane Kelly, defended the redistribution, saying the money had been taken out of Joondalup because the project had come in under budget.
But the government could not explain the cuts from the Osborne redevelopment. Kelly conceded $14 million had been taken out of the $40 million originally allocated, leaving just $26 million in the project budget.