New Premier can no longer turn a blind eye to health crisis after spike in ambulance ramping 

Jun 2, 2023 | Libby Mettam MLA, State News

Failed Health Minister Roger Cook’s first job as Premier must be to fix the health crisis created on his watch after another massive spike in ambulance ramping last month.

Ambulances were ramped for 5090 hours last month, up 38 per cent from the month before.

It’s the highest monthly figure recorded this year and follows a shocking total of more than 66,000 hours last year.

“Roger Cook hasn’t given the health portfolio a second thought after he was sacked as Minister at the end of 2021 but he can no longer continue to turn a blind eye,” Shadow Health Minister Libby Mettam said.

“Much of the issues impacting the health system were created during his time as Health Minister from 2017 to 2021 and he now has the ultimate responsibility to fix it.

“His days as Minister of Concerts and Special Events are over, his focus must now be on trying to address the number of issues in a health system that continues to struggle to meet demand.

Ms Mettam said Code Yellows at Fiona Stanley Hospital this month, due to a lack of capacity, had forced ambulances to be ramped and redirected to other hospitals.

“The result is yet another month of ambulance ramping over 5000 hours, similar to the figure recorded in May last year.

“So far this year, WA patients have been forced to wait in the back of ambulances or hospital corridors for 21,200 hours.

“St Johns data shows ambulances were ramped for 2,946 hours for the first 5 months of 2017 compared to 21,000 hours for the first five months of 2023.

“That’s a 600 per cent increase since Roger Cook called ambulance ramping a ‘crisis’ in Opposition and more than double the annual figure for 2017 when he became Health Minister.”

Ms Mettam said with a $4 billion surplus this year and $19 billion over the past five years, WA Labor had no excuse for the current crisis in the health system.

“It’s clear the band-aid measures the current health minister has tried to use to fix the issue are still failing to address the core problem of capacity and demand.

“What we have seen from both the current Health Minister and Mr Cook over the past six years is a string of excuses, finger pointing, diversion and deflection.

“With seven of the eight worst-performing emergency departments in the country, it’s clear the Labor Government continues to fail in health and the people of Western Australia are paying the price.

“I hope the new Premier and his Health Minister can put their differences aside after this week’s union brawl and between them come up with some long-term strategies to fix ambulance ramping.”