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Labor’s Geraldton hospital upgrade will face pressure after just two years: Nats

The Nationals WA have again questioned the McGowan Government’s ability to provide long-term solutions and adequate health services in Geraldton after a document revealed Labor’s planned hospital upgrade would fail to meet demand within two years of completion.

Leader Mia Davies, who is in Geraldton this week meeting community groups and stakeholders, said a forensic investigation of Labor’s plans by Health spokesperson Martin Aldridge had revealed the flagged hospital upgrade would struggle to meet community needs soon after it was due to open.

“The latest business case outlines that investment is needed to address the inability to meet current demand and accommodate the projected demand for services to 2025/26,” Ms Davies said.

“The problem is the hospital expansion is not expected to be completed until mid-2023.

“That leaves about a two-year window for the upgrade to meet the needs of the greater Geraldton community before another upgrade – potentially costing tens of millions of dollars – would be required.”

Mr Aldridge said Labor faced cost blowouts on the Geraldton hospital with new figures showing the upgrade would already cost 60 per cent more than the $45 million the Government committed at the election.

“The business case also reveals that at least $150 million is needed to do stage one properly,” Mr Aldridge said.

“This includes two new inpatient wards, refurbishing two existing wards and new birthing facilities that comply with health guidelines.”

Mr Aldridge said the Labor Party had not learnt from the mistakes made by former Premier Geoff Gallop who funded an upgrade to Geraldton Hospital that was incapable of meeting demand.

“We desperately need a long term vision for the Mid West and Geraldton Regional Hospital. Sadly this is something we’re just not getting from this Government,” he said.

Mr Aldridge said The Nationals WA made a $115 million commitment to redevelop Geraldton Hospital prior to the 2017 State election.

Since coming to government, Labor has pledged just $73 million with construction not expected to start until after the next State election in 2021.