St Helens District Hospital redevelopment examined by Legislative Council

An operating theatre at the new St Helens District Hospital would not be “practical or achievable”, a Parliamentary committee heard.

The Joint Committee on Public Works has released its findings for the $12-million development, finding the infrastructure would be “fit-for-purpose”. 

The committee found the current hospital, which was built in 1975, had a space deficit of at least 25 per cent. 

While the need for a small operating theatre at the new facility was brought up at the hearing, it was found that in such a small hospital, it would be “irresponsible”.

St Helens District Hospital director of nursing Denise Callister said it would be hard to find personnel to staff the theatre, and the cost of maintaining and running a theatre was high.

“It would be an absolute travesty to waste the taxpayers' money in providing a theatre for a small rural site,” Ms Callister said. 

The committee also asked about the emergency power supply of the new hospital and what happened if there was a power outage. 

Loop Architects consultant Tony Purse said he was investigating two generators as the power requirements in an emergency did not warrant a larger generator. 

“Our consultants are looking at sharing that load between two smaller units in order to cut running costs and provide a more effective solution,” Mr Purse said.

Speaking to concerns that the hospital could be disjointed for staff, the committee heard nursing staff had been consulted and did not have an issue with the changes.

The committee heard that if the existing site was not needed, it would be sold. 

The new hospital will include 10 inpatient ward beds, four emergency treatment bays, a family room, and four consultation rooms.