Excuses on emergency department shortfall all spin

The Health Minister’s claims the increased level of demand in our emergency departments is to blame for the escalating issues in our health system are disingenuous when figures show it’s simply a return to pre-COVID levels.

Shadow Health Minister Libby Mettam said the Health Minister was all spin.

“In 2018-2019, the number of presentations at emergency departments averaged about 80,000 every month* with a peak in June 2019 of 86,074 attendances,” Ms Mettam said.

“Yesterday, the Health Minister said there had been unprecedented demand and this was one of the reasons for the increased Code Yellows and why some elective surgeries have to be suspended.

“The reality is there were 81,592 presentations in April this year, not dissimilar to the pre-COVID emergency presentation figures.
“The number of presentations dropped significantly last year because people were told to avoid hospitals if they could.
“But these current levels are not extraordinary, they are simply a return to the levels we saw before COVID-19 when attendances at EDs consistently averaged around 80,000 per month.

“They should not come as a surprise to anyone, least of all the Health Minister, who has been overseeing the portfolio for the past four years.”
Ms Mettam said it was yet another attempt by the McGowan Government to avoid any shred of ‘gold standard transparency’ and try to spin its way out of the fact that the health system was in crisis.

“The Government’s lack of investment in the health system is the sole driver of record ambulance ramping, access and bed block and the increasing number of hospitals calling Code Yellows because they simply do not have capacity to cope.

“Now, to address its own shortfall, this government has suspended some elective surgeries because they don’t have the resources to undertake them.

“The surgery waitlist has already blown out by 50 per cent under this government, meaning there are almost 30,000 people in WA, some in serious pain, waiting for operations and I genuinely question how the McGowan Government plans on fixing the mess it has created.”

*From available November 2018-2019 WA Department of Figures