Improving maternal and infant health outcomes at regional WA’s busiest hospital will be the focus of an additional $77.8 million investment at the Bunbury Regional Hospital. The State Government allocated the additional funding to expand the hospital’s maternity, birthing and neonatal services in order to equip the campus with the facilities to manage moderate to high-risk births and emergencies. Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson was in Bunbury on Friday to announced the expanded upgrades, at the same time launching a new rural psychiatry training program — the first of its kind in Australia. Bunbury hospital’s large-scale redevelopment will include an expanded emergency department, increased operating theatre capacity, additional beds and new clinical equipment, with these latest additions now bringing the total redevelopment cost of the hospital to $277.9 million. These additions will include three additional delivery rooms, a doubling of maternity inpatient beds from 10 to 20, and additional neonatal cots. “This project is a priority, and the expansion will include new maternity, birthing and neonatal services, meaning more women can birth at Bunbury Regional Hospital,” Ms Sanderson said. “Bunbury Regional Hospital is regional Western Australia’s busiest hospital so it’s important they have access to a facility that meets the future needs of the community.” Collie-Preston MLA Jodie Hanns welcomed the new funding, saying the maternity and neonatal services would support the greater South West community. “I look forward to seeing this project progress and seeing the benefits of the expanded maternity, birthing and neonatal services to women and families in the region,” she said. Ms Sanderson also revealed details of the new Rural Psychiatry Training WA program, which will be overseen by WA Country Health Service. Aimed at growing a sustainable rural mental health workforce, the program will help trainees to stay in the regions all the way from internship through to fellowship, through peer support, mentoring and accommodation and relocation subsidies. “We know that doctors who train in rural areas are more likely to return to work in the country when they finish training,” Ms Sanderson said. “Improving the distribution of mental health workers gives regional communities access to timely and appropriate psychiatric care, regardless of their postcode.” The first cohort of trainees will begin in February 2023, with further trainees set to sign up to the program during the mid-year intake.