Concern ambulance ramping figures will be buried in new contract

There is concern key ambulance ramping data will be buried as part of the new contract being negotiated between St John Ambulance and the McGowan Government.

The Health Minister yesterday refused to directly answer questions around whether the service would be able to continue to report and make key data public as part of any new contract.

“Ambulance ramping data is an important metric for analysing how well, or not, the health system is performing,” Ms Mettam said.

“To have the service potentially gagged from reporting it would be contemptible.

“The health minister yesterday refused to say outright whether or not this key information would remain public raising concerns about clauses in the future contract.”

Ambulance ramping is at an all-time record with more than 56,000 hours reported for this year already, with six weeks to go. In 2017, the annual ambulance ramping figure was 9,819 hours.

“In 2019, this government stopped publicly reporting the figures in a blatant bid to bury the data so St John Ambulance started making them publicly available on its website.

“It’s extraordinary that this government now won’t commit to ongoing transparency in future years. If it is trying to hide the information going forward in the hope the problem will go away, it is deluded.”

The Health Minister has previously said the new agreement would be a more ‘contemporary contract’ with government taking a more active role in performance management. The contract would also include new performance management measures and improve transparency on how public funds are spent.

“One legacy this government will never be able to claim is gold standard transparency, it’s failed at every opportunity,” Ms Mettam said.

“It would be extremely disappointing if the government were to impose any conditions that would prevent the service from reporting the true state of the bed block in the WA health system given its widespread impact. I urge them to be transparent about the conditions going forward.”