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Hundreds more beds needed: doctors
Overloaded: WA will need hundreds more beds, doctors say. Picture: Supplied

Hundreds more hospital beds will be needed in Perth from 2015 to cope with unrelenting patient demand, according to the Australian Medical Association.

The AMA says apart from keeping the maximum beds open at the big tertiary hospitals, suburban hospitals in Rockingham, Armadale, Peel, Midland, Joondalup and Osborne Park would need to expand to keep up with urban growth.

AMA WA president Richard Choong said the next State government needed a plan to meet the health needs of WA beyond 2020.

"This must be based on the most recent population growth figures and include additional non-teaching hospital beds in outer metropolitan areas, especially in the northern corridor beyond Joondalup and in the fast-growing areas of Armadale and Rockingham," he said.

Dr Choong called for a guarantee that 410 beds would be kept fully resourced at Royal Perth Hospital after Fiona Stanley Hospital opened next year and that more than 100 new public beds at Midland Hospital would be staffed in the second half of 2015.

Apart from a funding commitment for 100 public beds due to open at Joondalup Health Campus this year, the AMA believes at least another 120 beds would be needed at the site because of the fast-growing northern suburbs population.

"While there is rightly a focus on tertiary hospitals because that's where specialist care is, a lot of patients don't need that level of care and that's why we need to put more money into the peripheral hospitals which are closer to home for patients," he said.

"We don't necessarily want more hospitals built yet, particularly as there are staffing issues with the ones being built now, but we need more beds in the non-tertiary hospitals where the running costs aren't as high."

Shadow health minister Roger Cook said Labor would retain RPH as a tertiary site with about 400 beds. He shared the AMA's concerns about bed and staff numbers and said his party would make announcements on this before the election.

Health Minister Kim Hames said most of the bed numbers the AMA wanted had already been accounted for under current plans.

"We know where we're getting the growth and we've planned for that, with significant increases in bed numbers as we need them, right up to 2020," he said.