McGowan Government finishes 2022 with worst ambulance ramping on record

Jan 1, 2023 | Libby Mettam MLA, State News

The McGowan Government has finished 2022 with another record for the history books – it has overseen the worst annual ambulance ramping figure ever reported.

WA ambulances spent more than 66,000 hours ramped outside WA hospitals this year.

Furthermore, the December total of 5,887 hours is also the worst December on record.

This annual figure is the equivalent of one ambulance being parked up for more than seven and a half years and is more than six times the figure (9819 hours) recorded in 2017 when Labor was elected.

“This is a truly shocking measure of the McGowan Government’s mismanagement of the WA health system,” Shadow Health Minister Libby Mettam said.

“It’s important to remember that for every one of these hours recorded, a West Australian patient was laid up in the back of an ambulance or waiting in a hospital corridor because there was simply no capacity inside that hospital to admit them.

“It is an absolute disgrace that waiting in the back of an ambulance for hours on end seems to be the norm, rather than the exception and begs the question of how, in a State that has recorded more than $11bn surpluses over the past two years, is this possible?

“Not only is it compromising patient care and adding extra stress to those healthcare workers that have continually been asked to do more with less, it is also costing taxpayers millions of dollars.

“It’s estimated the government will pay more than $17 million in fines because of its inability to accept patients into WA hospitals in a timely manner, as agreed in the contract with St John.

“But instead of accepting responsibility for its failures and trying to address the source of the problem by improving bed block and the flow of patients, the McGowan Government has reverted to its usual strategy of diverting and deflecting blame yet again.

“As revealed earlier this month, the government has scrapped the financial penalty to government requiring patients to be admitted in a certain time and changed the contract with St John’s so the not-for-profit will have to pay fines if it fails to meet response times.

“If ambulances are ramped for thousands of hours on end because the system cannot accept them, it follows that ambulance response times will be compromised.

“The McGowan Government must also take responsibility and address the failures in the health system that they have created.”

Annual WA ambulance ramping figures:
2022 –66,307
2021 – 52,435
2020 – 25,902
2019 – 24,438
2018 – 15,437
2017 – 9,819