After campaigning vocally on the need to expand Geraldton Hospital during the recent State election campaign, The Nationals WA candidate for Durack, Shane Van Styn, is taking the fight for hospital expansion funding to the Federal Government.
In recent years two funding submissions made to the Federal Government by the Department of Health have been ignored, the most recent being $120 million for capital works.
Mr Van Styn said the need to significantly improve services in acute mental health, cancer treatment, dialysis and emergency medicine was an issue that resonated loudly in the Geraldton community.
“One thing all these treatment gaps have in common apart from a lack of adequate patient care resources, is a lack of facilities to house these services in should they be expanded,” Mr Van Styn said.
“The 70-bed Geraldton Hospital was built in 2005 to replace a 120-bed facility and this has meant from day one that most departments have run near to, or at full capacity.”
Mr Van Styn attended the hospital’s emergency department as a patient last Monday after a parasite bite he received became infected and required urgent medical attention.
“I saw firsthand how Geraldton’s emergency department is at breaking point as I waited for almost four hours to be seen to,” he said.
“The wonderful staff made it clear to me that the facility is too small and they said it would be great if someone stood up for the Geraldton Hospital.”
Mr Van Styn said he also spoke regularly with cancer, mental illness and liver disease patients and their carers that were regularly forced to travel to Perth to undergo treatment.
Mr Van Styn said other regional centres in WA including Albany, Kalgoorlie and Bunbury had all received significant hospital upgrades thanks to large Royalties for Regions contributions and there was no reason why further expansion at Geraldton could not be undertaken to provide better specialist services with support from the Federal Government.
Federal leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minster for Infrastructure Warren Truss joined Mr Van Styn on a tour of the Geraldton hospital last Thursday with Director for Medical Services Dr Andrew Jamieson.
“As a Geraldton resident who relies on this hospital, I will fight tooth and nail for Geraldton to receive this funding,” Mr Van Styn said.
“The Nationals have a strong track record of delivering better health services to the regions and I will work as part of the Nationals WA team to ensure Geraldton receives its fair share of federal health funding.”