Concern ambulance ramping figures will be buried in new contract

Nov 18, 2022 | Libby Mettam MLA, State News

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.”

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