THE State Labor Party has announced it wants to introduce urgent care clinics to combat ambulance ramping.
State Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said ambulances have been ramped for 3610 hours this year at Fiona Stanley Hospital, with ramping at Armadale Hospital clocking up almost 600 hours.
Ambulance ramping takes into account the time patients in ambulances are waiting to be handed over to emergency department staff.
“We have a plan. One is to create urgent care clinics across the community and the second thing is we are going to create some medihotels,” he said.
He said people could go to a nearby location or doctor’s surgery, rather than wait at a hospital.
Mr McGowan said the urgent care clinics would be bulked billed but medihotels would bring a capital cost of about $20 million.
Health Minister John Day said overall WA hospitals, including Fiona Stanley and Armadale, still led the nation in treating or discharging emergency department patients within four hours.
“The South and East Metropolitan Health Services are committed to reducing ambulance ramping,” he said.
“We have just experienced the coldest September in decades and levels of influenza activity this winter are the highest they have been since 2012 but ramping figures are now reducing.
“Labor’s clinics idea is short on detail and funding and risks re-inventing the wheel. St John Ambulance is already well advanced in setting these clinics up through its Apollo healthcare project.”