McGowan Government must reinstate health worker survey amid PCH concerns

Feb 20, 2022 | Libby Mettam MLA, State News

The McGowan Government must rethink its poor decision to cancel the Your Voice in Health Survey, given the revelation that health worker morale continues to remain at dangerous levels at the Child and Adolescent Health Service (CAHS).

Startling new evidence has highlighted concerns that the McGowan Government has failed to adequately resource and support the CAHS almost 12 months after Aishwarya’s death.

AN FOI document attained by the Sunday Times states that “CAHS staff are overloaded, burnt out, frustrated and unappreciated”.

“These documents highlight that there needs to be a greater focus on the patient experience as well as addressing ongoing concerns regarding staff shortages,” Shadow Minister for Health Libby Mettam said.

“This is consistent with the feedback we have heard across the health sector which is why it is concerning the Government has dropped this year’s “Your Voice in Health Survey,” simply because they don’t want to hear from health workers.”

In April 2021, Aishwarya Aswath tragically died at Perth Children’s Hospital after waiting two hours to receive the necessary treatment.

“Following this tragic incident, in November last year the Your Voice in Health Survey for the Child and Adolescent Health Service* revealed that only 43% of workers felt valued for the work that they do, which trailed the rest of the Australian public health sector by 16%,” Ms Mettam said.

“An Independent report was undertaken into the death last year where eleven recommendations were made, including improvement to the triage process, a clear pathway for parents to escalate concerns to staff, a review of cultural awareness and the development of an established sepsis recognition diagnostic tool in the PCH emergency department.”

The report found there was an overall “uncoordinated plan of care” for Aishwarya, who was let down by a system stretched to breaking point.

“The report also illustrated the McGowan Government’s failure to meet future demand, despite a 43% increase in the investment in services between 2017-2018 to 2020-2021, highlighting the dysfunction within the WA health portfolio,” Ms Mettam said.

“To now see very little progress since, and in fact a backward step with the cancellation of a health worker survey which provides a critical insight in to how the system is operating, shows this government is not serious about improving patient outcomes and supporting our health workforce, despite the most damning warnings.”