Ambulance ramping problem grows

Opposition health spokesman Roger Cook said the worst affected hospitals were Swan District, which experienced an increase of 22.4 per cent and Joondalup Health Campus, with an increase of 23.2 per cent.

Dr Hames, speaking on Perth radio last week, said : �The figures are not as good as I would have liked�.

When the Opposition raised concerns last November, Dr Hames said Fiona Stanley Hospital was going to be a solution to WA�s record ambulance ramping.

Mr Cook said Dr Hames had been brushing aside concerns about ambulance ramping for years by claiming everything would be OK when Fiona Stanley Hospital opened.

�Well, Fiona Stanley has opened, and ramping is worse than ever,� Mr Cook said. �Ambulance ramping shows no sign of reducing and is actually getting worse.

�More and more West Australians are getting caught stuck in ambulances outside emergency departments when they should be getting hospital treatment.�

St John Ambulance service director Iain Langridge said he was also worried and supportive of any initiative to reduce the problem.

To this end ambulance staff met with Department of Health officials and each head of emergency departments last week.

�St John has always had the view that patients arriving by ambulance should be triaged as soon as practicable for optimal patient safety and quality of care,� Mr Langridge said. �There is therefore no change to the St John procedure for handing over patients at emergency departments.�

Dr Hames gave hospitals and ambulances a 10-minute buffer on the usual 20 minutes to process patients and said that the figures for those who were moved to emergency were solid.

Dr Hames met with hospital CEOs on August 5 and said he was heartened with recent figures which indicated the unusual spike in figures had dissipated.

�On Monday they had normalised and I have met with CEOs to find out why these spikes in ramping have occurred as it is a worrying trend,� Dr Hames said.

The definition of ramping has not changed and it is still timed after the 20-minute mark.