WA Opposition says ambulance ramping rates are soaring

WA Opposition says ambulance ramping rates are soaring

AMBULANCE ramping outside of Perth’s major hospitals is on the increase, with Monday’s figures the worst on record according to the State Opposition.

The total number of hours ambulances are waiting outside hospitals when the emergency departments are unable to accept patients is soaring, according to Opposition health spokesman Sean L’Estrange.

“Ambulances waited a total of 194.8 hours outside hospitals on Monday, December 10,” he said.

“This is unacceptable.

“On August 13, total ambulance ramping reached 168.7 hours, the third worst day in seven years.

“On August 20, total ambulance ramping worsened and reached 180.6 hours.

“On November 12, it worsened again to 187.7 hours and, on Monday it got to a new record high of 194.8 hours.”

Mr L’Estrange called on Health Minister Roger Cook to come forward with solutions to the issue.

“In August, the minister blamed the flu season for the unacceptable rise in ambulance ramping,” he said.

“It is now summer, the flu season is over and yet the problem is getting worse.

“On Monday, 64.4 per cent of patients arriving by ambulance had to wait longer than 20 minutes to be handed over to the care of ED staff.

“Ambulances need to be out in the community, responding to emergency calls, not ramped outside hospitals.

“Ambulance ramping, caused by blocked emergency departments, is a sign that our hospitals are under strain.”

However Mr Roger Cook said the recently released Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report on Emergency Care 2017-18 revealed WA was the highest performing state in the country and was the only state to improve performance in 2017-18.

“That means we treated more patients inside the four-hour rule that any other state,” he said.

“For example in October there were a record number of attendances at WA emergency departments yet over 74 per cent of patients were seen within four hours, which exceeded that of October 2017 and October 2016.

“The Liberal Party have a dismal record on ramping, former Health Minister Kim Hames threw his hands up in surrender and tried to ban it.

“Now in opposition they are failing to see the complete picture and failing to recognise the hard work of staff and improvements in ED performance that have taken place under the McGowan Labor government.

“We should be celebrating the performance of our emergency departments and the frontline staff running them, who against a background of increasing demand are the best performing in the country.”