Residents have expressed disquiet about the State Government’s apparent disinterest in expanding the Margaret River Hospital to meet soaring demand. After veteran GP Cathy Milligan’s call last fortnight to fund the long-awaited master plan for the campus, voiced during a public meeting with Premier Mark McGowan and cabinet Ministers, residents have echoed those concerns about the hospital’s difficulties amid population and tourism growth. Residents increasingly reported difficulties accessing the hospital or waiting in the car park and ambulance bay, while at the same time expressing concern for under-the-pump hospital workers. On social media, resident Kym Beesley called for more funding to advance the expansion. “The hospital deserves so much more funding,” she said. “The town is getting bigger and the hospital is not getting bigger.” Retired resident Lorraine Dusci said she had worked in hospitals for years watching State Government neglect. “The Government have spent hardly any money on the hospital for all those years,” she said. “They have only done repairs when really needed.” She singled out facilities including toilets and beds for elderly needing upgrades and replacements. As reported previously by the Times, a failure to replace decrepit air-conditioning in the hospital surgical theatre triggered an increased reliance on sending patients to Busselton and Bunbury, with the works never rectified. That comes as doctors throughout the past three years bemoaned the lack of space, no emergency roster, and an increase in costly patient transfers co-ordinated by volunteer ambulance officers. Attendees of the community cabinet meeting said they were underwhelmed by Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson’s response to concerns raised by Dr Milligan. At the November 20 community cabinet, Dr Milligan said the hospital’s emergency department was now spilling out into the car park and ambulance bays, and the hospital was “groaning” under the volume of treatment provided. Ms Sanderson did not directly comment on the funding issue, reiterating lines about Labor’s “record” $3.2 billion investment in the State’s health system. “It’s going through the proper process of government,” she told Dr Milligan. In response, the Health Minister cited recent money spent at the hospital as well as the $200 million redevelopment of Bunbury Hospital. Ms Sanderson acknowledged the increase in usage at the hospital, but ascribed it to peak season trends rather than the year-round challenge Dr Milligan described. The minister said WA Health also had construction capacity limits which affected its works program Statewide.