The tragic news of a 70-year-old woman who died after being ramped for several hours outside Busselton Hospital is an indictment on the McGowan Government and the under resourcing and mismanagement of WA’s hospital system.
Shadow Health Minister, Libby Mettam, said the Premier must take responsibility and be held to account for the mismanagement and under resourcing of the State’s Health system over the past five years.
“Calling for an independent investigation into this tragedy is the minimum that should happen. We need to know why, despite repeated warnings and a worsening hospital crisis, the McGowan Government has still not acted to fix bed block and ambulance ramping.
“We need to pull the veil back on the secrecy around this government and its mismanagement of our health system.
“Ambulance ramping and bed block have been getting worse since 2018, well before COVID. The McGowan Government has repeatedly been warned of a potential tragedy due to hospital bed block and the record levels of ambulance ramping that have resulted, but it has chosen to ignore it.
“There is simply no excuse for the health system to be so under resourced and mismanaged while the State boasts of multi-billion dollar surpluses. In a wealthy State this should not be happening.
“Our hearts go out to the family, first responders and health workers who were involved. They deserve better.”
Ms Mettam said it was deeply concerning that the McGowan Governments first response appeared to be to try to deflect blame to St John’s Ambulance who have increasingly been challenged by as a result of a lack of a capacity in the health system, with paramedics waiting longer than ever before outside hospitals for patients to be assessed by hospital staff.
Ambulance ramping has reached record levels since the McGowan Government came to office, recording over 6,525 hours in the Metropolitan region last August, the highest in the states history with regional ramping reaching record 129 hours last month.*
“Western Australia entered the pandemic with the lowest number of beds per capita in the country and hospitals across the state have suffered with chronic understaffing,” Ms Mettam said.
“Chronic understaffing and under resourcing has continued to challenge our health workers who have been asked to do more with less.
“It is completely unacceptable that patients’ lives continue being put at risk while waiting to receive critical and essential care in our hospitals.”