Shortage of paediatric doctors forces Rockingham Hospital to close its doors to child inpatients

STAFF shortages have forced Rockingham Hospital to close its doors to child inpatients, The Sunday Times reports. 

A hospital spokeswoman confirmed it had stopped the admission of any new children because of the lack of paediatric doctors and locums for the long weekend.

She said the emergency department could still treat children, they just could not be admitted into hospital if they needed longer treatments or overnight stays.

Children requiring admission were being transferred to Fiona Stanley Hospital. The inpatient medical paediatric service reopens at 8am Tuesday, the spokeswoman said.

Expectant mothers in labour were also being transferred to FSH but only if it was “clinically appropriate and safe”, she said.

WA Health’s Rockingham Peel Group acting executive director Kathleen Smith said the decision was “in the interests of patient safety”.

United Voice, representing nurses and hospital support staff, said this was “just another failure in a Perth hospital the State Government has neglected to properly address”.

The union’s assistant secretary Pat O’Donnell said it was “absurd to displace sick children and hospital staff because they can’t hire enough qualified people to cover the wards at the hospital”.

“And to move patients to other hospitals for no medical reason is a harmful practice as it results in fewer beds for sick children,” Mr O’Donnell said.