Another ambulance ramping record and 700 double shifts highlight health system crisis

Dec 1, 2022 | Libby Mettam MLA, State News

The McGowan Government has added another record to its legacy with the worst November on record for ambulance ramping.

Patients were ramped in the back of ambulances for 5767 hours last month and have been ramped for more than 60,000 hours this year so far, the highest annual figure ever.

“These figures highlight the extraordinary pressure our nurses, midwives and health workers are feeling in an under resourced hospital system,” Shadow Health Minister Libby Mettam said.

“When Labor was elected, the annual ambulance ramping figure was 9819. It is now more than 60,000 hours with a month to go.”

These figures follow new revelations to Parliament this week that nurses did almost 700 double shifts in the hospital system for the month of September alone.

“It’s clear the McGowan Government has become overly reliant on the goodwill of nurses and midwives to do double shifts in the State’s overstretched health system,” Ms Mettam said.

“Our health workers have continued to be asked to do more with less and these figures point to a hardworking workforce that has been let down by the McGowan Government.”

Ms Mettam said it was clear the bed block and under-resourcing had not improved despite the best efforts of frontline health workers.

“November’s ambulance ramping figure is a thousand hours more than last November’s figure (4 397), which is extraordinary given COVID was the excuse last year,” Ms Mettam said.

“We are now past the state of emergency and the winter flu season. We have a government with a record $6bn surplus, there are no excuses for these shocking figures.”

Ms Mettam said it’s been more than six months since the McGowan Government announced an Emergency Department reform package to address ambulance ramping, which had had little impact on the figures.

“This is a Government that promised to address ambulance ramping as a priority when in Opposition, citing the then monthly figure of 1,030 hours as a horror story.

“It’s clear they have completely dropped the ball on this promise after cutting corners on the health budget when elected and patients are now paying the price.”

Annual WA ambulance ramping figures:
2022 – over 60,425* (final figure from December to be finalised)
2021 – 52,435
2020 – 25,902
2019 – 24,438
2018 – 15,437
2017 – 9,819