East-west health care gaps seen

The Health Needs Assessment compared four sub-regions, including Swan and Hills, inner north east, Perth central and western suburbs to identify gaps in primary health care services.

PCEMML chairperson Marcus Tan said the report indicated western suburbs ranging from West Perth to Mosman Park and City Beach had greater access to general practitioners, specialists and allied health services despite having a reduced need for a range of primary health care services.

Dr Tan said the imbalance was alarming considering the eastern suburbs had a high need for health services due to chronic and complex diseases, including diabetes, mental health and cardiovascular disease compared with state and national figures.

‘The eastern suburbs also have the highest prevalence of bowel and breast cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, arthritis and osteoporosis, plus the highest rate of avoidable mortality from respiratory system diseases and cancer,’ he said.

East Metropolitan MLC Amber-Jade Sanderson said the report findings were shocking. ‘Bassendean and Bayswater have the lowest number of GPs, no emergency departments or palliative care services, the least number of allied health professionals and only half the number of mental health services available in the three other regions,’ she said.

‘The upshot of this report is that if we live in Mosman Park or City Beach, we will be OK, but if we live in the east we will probably die early from heart disease or cancer. Access to quality publicly owned and run health services should not depend on our postcode, income or ethnicity.’