Heat over WA stand-alone abortion clinic
The Catholic health provider that will run a new hospital in Perth says it is the state government that wants “restricted procedures” including abortion to be performed at a stand-alone facility.
The West Australian government chose St John of God Health Care to operate the Midland Health Campus partly because its tender was $1.5 billion cheaper than others.
But religious beliefs prevent it from doing procedures such as abortions and vasectomies, so those will be performed at a separate facility.
The opposition suggested in parliament on Wednesday that the patients were being shunted to “the corner of a car park” and some talkback callers questioned why a Catholic health provider had been selected to operate a mainly public hospital if it wasn’t prepared to offer the full range of services.
But St John of God Health Care group chief executive Michael Stanford said it was “the state’s decision” to build a stand-alone clinic.
And the health provider had warned four years ago that it was not prepared to provide the services.
Health Minister Kim Hames said the cost of building the separate clinic was “nowhere near” the savings made by picking the cheapest provider.
He said the government was holding discussions with private operators who had made submissions to operate the clinic ,but could not guarantee that taxpayers wouldn’t have to foot some of the bill.
“The chances of that occurring are very small, but until we make that final decision on how we’re going to do it I can’t rule it out,” Dr Hames said.
“It is our intention that we not put any funding to build that, but we’ve made a commitment to the people of Midland and we won’t let them down.”
Dr Hames said in order for the clinic to open at the same time as the hospital, the government would have to reach a decision within the next three to six months.
The hospital will have more than 300 public beds and 60 private beds.