Perth Children’s Hospital to open in May


Perth Children’s Hospital will finally open next month.Firm dates have finally been set for the staged opening of the problem-plagued Perth Children’s Hospital, almost three years later than originally planned.

The $1.2 billion facility, which will replace the ageing Princess Margaret Hospital and was originally scheduled to open in August 2015, will open outpatient clinics on May 14, with first elective surgery to follow a fortnight later.

On June 10, the last patients at PMH will be moved to the new hospital and children at the Bentley Adolescent Unit will be transferred within a week of that date.

“We’re very excited that we’ve finally got it underway,” WA Premier Mark McGowan told reporters on Sunday.

“This has been the culmination of a huge amount of effort and work.”

There were 236 variations to the scope of the project and major construction problems included asbestos in ceiling panels, non-compliant fire doors and lead in the drinking water.

Last month, a parliamentary committee concluded control of the project was lost due to poor communication between “basically everyone involved”.

The Public Accounts Committee criticised responsibility for the project being divided between Strategic Projects and the Department of Health, which made them ill-equipped to handle difficulties with the main contractor, John Holland.

Another major criticism was levelled at John Holland for refusing to agree to phosphate treatments to fix the lead problem.

The state government granted practical completion when the contamination was unresolved so it could take control of the site and Mr McGowan acknowledged that had been risky.

“But for that intervention, this hospital would still have no opening date in the foreseeable future,” he said.

“We did the right thing.”

A legal stoush between John Holland and the government looms.

Health Minister Roger Cook said it was “regrettable” millions of dollars had been spent on empty car bays, due to contractual obligations, during the lengthy delay.

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