The critical shortage of beds in WA hospitals across the State has been laid bare with new figures showing more than 100 bed state blacks and 56 code yellows in one month.
New parliamentary questions show that metropolitan hospitals recorded 71 bed state blacks called when there is critical levels of bed block and country hospitals recorded 31 in May.
For the same month, a total of 56 code yellows were called when there is an internal emergency such as a lack of beds across the State.
Figures provided through Parliamentary Estimates of the Legislative Council also illustrate that in the last 12 months (June 2021 – May 2022) there were 311 maternity bypasses.
“Its completely unacceptable for over 300 maternity bypasses to be recorded in a year, reflecting a distressing lack of choice for pregnant women,” said Shadow spokesperson for Health Libby Mettam.
“This simply reflects how the McGowan Government have dragged their feet on their recruitment campaign, incentives and efforts to attract and retain nurses and midwives.
“There is simply no way of spinning these outcomes – we clearly have a health system which is on its knees.
“These shocking figures reveal the true extent of the bed shortage in the system.
“For more than three bed state blacks to be called every day in May is appalling.
“It must be incredibly distressing for those frontline health workers and managers trying to manage the dire shortage of beds and for those patients and families waiting for beds to free up.
“These figures also highlight how widespread these bed shortages have now become with country hospitals also recording regular bed shortages, which is incredibly concerning given the geographical logistics of finding alternative care.”
Ms Mettam said the government’s announcement of extra care beds at the end of last year was clearly not enough to fill the gap.
“Many of the so-called new beds the government has announced over the past 11 months are effectively the old beds that they are re-opening and while the extra capacity is obviously welcomed, it’s clear it’s not enough and WA patients are paying the price for a government that has been sitting on it’s hands for the first few years in Government.
“If the McGowan Government had actually delivered some of it’s key election promised at the 2017 election such as Medihotels – which were supposed to free up hospital beds – then perhaps we would not be facing this same situation.
“Instead they have delivered just one Medihotel – which is just 4 beds at RPH – after 5 years in Government.
“The McGowan Government have also dragged their feet on attracting and attaining their own workforce, which is critically important to bed capacity.
Ms Mettam said the lack of beds also continued to have a serious impact on other serives, including ambulance ramping with record levels reported in July.
“Last month WA ambulances were ramped for 6976 hours recorded in WA and ten times more than the figure recorded in July 2017 when the McGowan Government was elected.
“Despite desperate attempts to point the finger at everyone else the fact is there is no one else to blame.
“These abhorrent figures are a result of the McGowan Government’s failure to properly resource our health system and they are now in a desperate game of catch up.”