The McGowan Government’s latest pre-budget health announcement is yet more spin from a government that is big on talk but not on action, the Opposition claims.
Shadow Health Minister Libby Mettam said today’s announcement of 10 extra ICU beds for Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital was a desperate game of catch up and still fell well short with no detail on when or how they would be delivered.
“Given WA had the lowest number of ICU beds per capita in Australia in 2021 (6.0 beds per 100,000 people), which was actually less than in 2020 (6.7 beds per 100,000 people), today’s announcement appears to still be short of where we were two years ago,” Ms Mettam said.
“This appears to be an announcement to put beds back into the system that were taken out in 2021.
“There are also questions about whether there are enough senior nurses in the system to support this expansion and when they will actually come online.
“It’s clear is the government’s actions aren’t meeting their words with very little detail, few timeframes and absolutely no urgency to any of this.
“I suspect it would be of little comfort to Western Australian patients and health workers who are challenged by the health crisis now as we head into winter.”
Ms Mettam said today’s announcement for regional areas also fell short.
“It was extraordinary to hear the Health Minister admit they were still “rolling out the funding” for paramedics in the regions from two years ago given we have seen a sharp escalation in ambulance ramping in country areas**, which has had tragic consequences in the regions recently,” Ms Mettam said.
“For the Minister to then explain today’s funding for paramedics would be ‘rolled out’ over the next 2-3 years again illustrates that this government has absolutely no intention of even trying to fix some of the issues they have created over the last five years until well into the future.
“Today’s announcement is nothing more than a future plan to fix a problem that is having real and dire consequences for WA patients right now.”