2022 ambulance ramping figure highest on record with two months to go

WA has reported its worst annual ambulance ramping figures on record, with ambulances spending more than 54,000 hours ramped outside WA hospitals already this year.

This is more than 1600 hours over the 2021 total with two months of the year still to go.

It’s also more than five times the ambulance ramping total in 2017 (9819 hours) when WA Labor described it as a ‘crisis and a horror story’ and committed to putting patients first and freeing up hospital beds.

Shadow Minister for Health Libby Mettam said the figure was an appalling reflection on the McGowan Government’s handling of the health system and patient care was being compromised.

“These are more than just numbers on a page. Every day this year patients have spent an average of 177 hours sitting in the back of an ambulance or a hospital corridor waiting because there is no capacity in our hospitals to take them,” Ms Mettam said.

“Six months ago, the WA Labor Government announced an emergency reform package that was going to address the causes of ambulance ramping but instead of improving, it’s getting worse.

“At the same time, the government ‘embedded’ senior health and police bureaucrats in St John’s control centre, implying they could do it better.

“The reality is the issue is not going to get better until the hospitals are better managed.

“The McGowan Government’s default mode of spin, deflect and divert the blame is not going to make this issue go away.

“The lack of urgency in fixing the current health crisis is shocking.”

Ms Mettam said while our frontline health workers have been doing an incredible job propping up the system while continually being asked to do more with less, it was clear more resources were still needed to address bed block in our hospitals.

“In a State with a $6bn surplus, it is disgraceful that these figures have seemingly become the norm,” Ms Mettam said.

“It’s well known that the WA health system has been mismanaged under the current WA Labor Government, but this is a truly shocking measure of how far they have allowed the system to fall.

“A new Minister, a so-called reform package and a plan to micro-manage St John’s hasn’t made the problem go away. That can only happen when this government properly manages our hospitals and so far that isn’t happening.

“It begs the question of how much worse this will get and how many more patients’ lives will be put at risk, before we see urgent change and this government make health a priority?”

Annual WA ambulance ramping figures:
2022 – 54,094 (with two months to go)
2021 – 52,435
2020 – 25,902
2019 – 24,438
2018 – 15,437
2017 – 9,819