By Claire Ottaviano
AN ongoing argument over alleged budget cuts at Midland Hospital has been resolved, according to a hospital spokesperson.
On Thursday morning, Echo News was told the hospital had reached a funding agreement.
“St John of God Midland Public Hospital and the East Metropolitan Health Service had worked closely and productively together in relation to the allocation of funding for the 2021/22 financial year to ensure the continued provision of safe, high quality services, and we are pleased to advise that a mutually acceptable resolution has been reached,” a hospital spokesperson said.
In Parliament last week, East Metropolitan MLCs Donna Faragher (Liberal) and Dr Brian Walker (Legalise Cannabis Party) asked the Health Minister to confirm allegations the hospital’s budget would be cut by up to $10 million.
They referred to an article published by the ABC on May 22 in which senior doctors warned “patients would die” because of proposed losses.
The minister representing the Minister of Health, Mental Health Minister Stephen Dawson, replied two days later that the hospital’s 2021/22 budget had not been reduced.
In Midland Hospital funding questions go unanswered (Echo News, May 28), Mr Cook said any reduction in funding was due to the hospital’s contract locked in by the former Liberal Government.
During parliamentary debate on a motion to “condemn” the Minister for Health for failure to lead and manage his current portfolios, Vasse MLA Libby Mettam said she did not accept his response the Morrison Government was not to blame.
“The hospital’s chief executive, Michael Hogan, has also had to tell a number of the frontline workers that they would be made redundant, despite efforts from management to keep those costs down,” she said.
“In summary, I do not believe that doctors should be told to calm down, as they have been.”
Mr Cook defended a list of accusations against him, including failure to address ambulance ramping, presiding over cultural and resourcing issues at Perth Children’s Hospital and failure to secure resourcing for the WA health system, but did not respond to Ms Mettam’s comments regarding Midland Hospital directly.
“All around the country…we are trying to build our health workforce to make sure that we have the nurses and doctors so that people can take leave and recharge and can continue to provide great health services for the people of Western Australia,” he said.
“There is an accusation about the failure to secure proper resourcing for the WA health system more broadly, which I will ignore because it is rubbish.”