The Opposition has called on the Premier to strip the Health Minister of his additional Ministerial portfolios to allow him to solely focus on managing WA’s systemic health crisis.
Leader Mia Davies and Shadow Health Minister Libby Mettam joined more than 1000 front-line health workers and supporters at a rally outside Perth Children’s Hospital today organised by the Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) and the Australian Medical Association (AMA).
Ms Davies said health staff felt let-down and betrayed by the Health Minister and were frustrated by the constant PR spin coming from the Labor Government.
“The rally at PCH today – the first time the ANF and AMA have held a joint rally – is a direct result of the Premier and Health Minister’s failure to listen to the concerns of front-line health workers,” Ms Davies said.
“To his credit the Health Minister appeared at the rally today, yet he failed to acknowledge critical issues like systemic understaffing, record ambulance ramping, catastrophically low morale, and exhausted front-line health workers.
“These are not just isolated incidents but have been occurring across our health sector for several years and will get worse if the Minister continues to sweep them under the rug.
“Instead of accepting any responsibility for the sorry state of WA’s health system, the Minister has blamed cultural issues at PCH and supported the decision to throw two nurses and a doctor under the bus,” she said.
Ms Davies said the disconnect between the Health Minister and the experiences of front-line health workers was staggering.
“The Health Minister continues to tell Parliament and the media there is no staffing crisis – while at the same time nursing staff are facing a bombardment of SOS text messages calling for urgent help managing a perpetually understaffed emergency department,” she said.
During Question Time today, Ms Davies called on the Premier to strip the Health Minister of his additional portfolios so he could focus on fixing the health crisis.
“The Premier refused this request. It appears there are no circumstances where the Health Minister will be held accountable for the health crisis in our hospitals,” Ms Davies said.
Shadow Health Minister Libby Mettam said while it was pleasing to see the Government announce additional staff and beds at PCH today, it was important to note that the health crisis was widespread.
“We had healthcare workers from hospitals all over the metropolitan area and some from as far south as Albany all protesting about the same thing – staff and resources,” Ms Mettam said.
“WA still has one of the lowest number of beds per capita in the country and until there is significant investment across the board, these issues around staff shortages, burnout, ambulance ramping, and bed block are only going to get worse.”