Medical staff at Perth’s new hospital are quitting in frustration because of ongoing problems with private contractor Serco but there are signs of improvement, the Australian Medical Association says.
Ian Jenkins from the Australian Medical Association of Western Australia told reporters outside an inquiry into the hospital’s services on Wednesday that Serco had employed people at short notice, many of whom had little or no medical experience.
Dr Jenkins said the “political decision” to privatise “non-clinical” roles at Fiona Stanley was causing issues because no such jobs existed in a hospital.
He said the hospital needed more beds to cope with patient numbers and the government had been caught out by the state’s population growth.
“It would be a courageous government that would admit there’s been a major problem in privatising the so-called non-clinical services in a new hospital,” Dr Jenkins said.
AMA president Michael Gannon said he believed several key aspects of the hospital’s development had been rushed, leading to ongoing underlying issues but things were improving.
“There were many elements of the hospital’s commission that should have been done better but in many areas there seems to be an appetite to fix them,” he told AAP.
Dr Jenkins also criticised Health Minister Kim Hames for being on holiday when pipes burst at the hospital.
Dr Jenkins declined to comment when asked if Dr Hames should resign, which has been repeatedly called for by the state opposition.
“Kim Hames has lost the faith of doctors in this state,” WA Labor leader Mark McGowan told reporters.
“Today is the day he should fall on his sword. It’s time to go.”
But Dr Gannon said it was “a real cheap shot to have a go at the minister for having a family holiday”.
“I will not join that chorus.”