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Danica Spurr investigates the plans and perils of relocating wa's women's and babies hospital

Our student reporter Danica Spurr interviews a range of experts, medical professionals, families, and politicians to understand the repeated calls from the community to rethink the move of the new Women's and Babies Hospital to Fiona Stanley Hospital in Murdoch.
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The Women's and Babies Hospital is slated to move from QEII to Fiona Stanley Hospital - with construction expected to start in 2024. Image: Fiona Stanley Hospital. By Evad37 via Wikimedia Commons.
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the issue

Some are concerned that the slated site at Fiona Stanley may cause delays in providing urgent care.


the families

Families and professionals feel like they are not being heard.

Image Danica Spurr

the politics

The WA Government is standing firm on the relocation site and will not be swayed at this time.

The Women's and Babies Hospital provides critical care and many other services. Image: Adobe Stock.

the issue

There have been calls to revoke the Governments decision to move the new Women’s and Babies Hospital from QEII in Nedlands to Fiona Stanley Hospital in Murdoch, Doctors are now stating that this could cause death or disability to neonates in need of time critical care.

With the new location being 20km south of Perth Children’s Hospital, time delays can vary anywhere between 20 minute to 2 hours plus, depending on traffic congestion, road collisions or roadworks.

The decision to relocate the Women’s and Babies Hospital made in April this year, blindsided many, including the medical clinicians, who had been consulting on the redevelopment of the Women’s and Babies Hospital at Nedlands.

Many are now raising the red flag that the costs and fall out from this decision in the long run will be unprecedented, not just with lives, but also shortages in the healthcare workforce, posing an ongoing risk to critical staff fulfillment within hospitals. 

At the top of the list of critical staff shortages are the states midwives, who are an essential backbone to any maternity hospital.

The initial site at QEII in Nedlands is 3km away from King Edward Maternity Hospital, where babies currently have a short trip, should they require urgent care from Perth Children’s Hospital.

QEII would have offered tri-location, where the new Women’s and Babies Hospital would have been located alongside Perth Children’s hospital and Sir Charles Gardner Hospital both tertiary hospitals.

Currently all other states in Australia follow this tri-location model, which is typically seen by experts as the gold standard and an opportunity to provide Western Australians and particularly those most vulnerable, a state of the art, world class facility that provides ease of access for both patients and clinicians, without the risk of unnecessary travel.


As the experts can attest to the medical findings and knowledge that will impact this decision, it is the statements from the families who have a lived experience of what this will mean.

Families who can shed light on how this decision will truly impact the future generation of newborns born in WA.

The true fiscal cost has not yet been tallied of what this will cost the state in the long run.

As the richest state in WA, for the families affected by this decision, they feel that a justification around cost is a poor justification for a life that could have been saved, when all other states prioritise tri-location.

The new location not only poses a threat to babies traveling from Fiona Stanley to Perth Children’s Hospital, it also poses a considerable risk to pregnant high risk mothers who would be assigned to give birth there.

Mothers who rely on the states leading maternity hospital for ongoing care, which they can not receive from their local hospitals.

At a time of rising inflation and an increase in cost of living, it means for families often surviving on one income, more travel time, stress, uncertainty and costs, without any additional support.

Parking has also been called into question at Fiona Stanley Hospital, which regularly contends with congestion and delays in its parking lot.


Roger cook discusses the issue at ecu mt lawley with student reporter danica spurr. Left.

Image: Danica Spurr.


Continuing to stand steadfast in their decision is the government, who has been accused of choosing infrastructure, cost and time delays as the key determining factors behind the relocation.

Recent leaks from inside the government, highlighted calls to revoke the decision and relocation, which could result in disability or death for newborns in need of time critical care.

When minutes matter, a possible journey anywhere from 20 minutes to well over 2 hours, means that many babies, will be to be too sick to make the journey. 

Delays including traffic, road collisions, roadworks and bottle-necking over the bridge, could further limit the ability for emergency vehicles to bypass cars or to stop in an emergency lane.

Leading the way throughout this campaign and calling for the Government to revoke their decision, is Liberal Leader and Shadow Health Minister for WA Libby Mettam, who is now calling this an election issue as it is debated heavily in Parliament.

Libby Mettam has been vocal in her views on the issue, forging a petition to stop the relocation and announcing that this will become a part of her election campaign. 

If elected Premier of WA, she has declared that she will rip up all papers and contracts pertaining to the relocation at Fiona Stanley Hospital and reinstating it back at QEII in Nedlands.

Premier Roger Cook provided an interview for this story, promoting in his interview the proximity of Jandakot Airport to Fiona Stanley Hospital for regional Western Australians.

Health Minister Amber Jade Sanderson declined an interview and statement.

Image: Liberal Leader and Shadow Health Minister for WA Libby Mettam.

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