West Australian Health Minister Kim Hames has refused to rule out putting further IT expenditure towards the troubled Fiona Stanley Hospital construction, despite a $40 million top up in last week's state budget.
“I am not guaranteeing anything,” he said in response to a challenge from opposition MP Roger Cook.
“We need to make sure the very complex and difficult IT system that is required to ensure Fiona Stanley Hospital works safely for patients who come through the door, is paid for. We will put up the funds for whatever is required."
However, he denied his government is “haemorrhaging cash” over the delayed IT fit-out, which has set back the opening of the facility by six months.
He told Parliament yesterday the state was still running “well below” the original IT budget allocated to the hospital in 2004, and blamed a funding switch in the interim years by the state treasury for funding confusion.
He again denied the project is $330 million over budget, as claimed by former Treasury chief Tim Marney.
Hames said new money merely represents the return of $259 million re-deployed by Treasury in previous years.
Hames also denied reports that outsourced provider Serco had been stripped of the data management and patient administration functions it was orginally contracted to fulfill, despite the jobs being returned to the state government.
He said the functions were only ever included in the Serco contract as an “option” WA Health could take up if it elected to do so.
“It was not part of the contract that Serco had to get the services,” he said. “It was part of the contract that the option existed for it to go to Serco, and this was what was [originally planned].”