Average ambulance ramping time outside Geraldton hospital triples in three years

Phoebe PinGeraldton Guardian
Ambulance ramping at Royal Perth Hospital.
Camera IconAmbulance ramping at Royal Perth Hospital. Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian

Ambulances spent more than 60 hours ramped at Geraldton hospitals last year, with the average ramping time more than triple what it was just two years ago.

According to St John Ambulance figures, paramedics waited for service outside Geraldton Health Campus for 61.2 hours in 2021, with the average ramp time being 5.1 hours.

Numbers have more than doubled over the past three years, with ramping times hitting just 26.4 hours total in 2020 and 19.8 hours in 2019.

Ambulance crews were waiting an average of 2.2 hours for service outside the hospital in 2020 and 1.65 hours in 2019.

The latest Geraldton figures remain significantly lower than those at other hospitals in regional WA, with ambulances ramped outside Bunbury Regional Hospital for 630.5 hours last year.

Across the State, ambulances spent more than 52,000 hours ramped in 2021, more than double the 25,902 hours recorded in 2020.

Shadow minister for health Libby Mettam said ambulance ramping was on the rise in country WA, where paramedics spent almost 870 hours waiting for service outside regional hospitals in 2021.

“Our regional areas have consistently been forgotten about by this metro-centric government, despite the dire need,” she said.

“Of the extra (hospital) beds announced in December, only a handful will be added to the WA County Health Service with no additional ICU beds.

“It beggars belief, that despite the clear and escalating need, this Government continues to respond with its head in the sand and patients are paying the price while our frontline healthcare workers shoulder the additional workload.”

But a State Government spokesperson said WA Labor was dedicated to improving access to timely medical care.

“We have invested millions of dollars in additional healthcare funding across regional WA including the $82.3 million redevelopment of Geraldton Health Campus, an additional $19.7m for Patient Assisted Travel Scheme, and $2m to support the work of regional renal support teams in the Mid West,” they said.

“Regardless of how patients present to hospital, they are triaged according to how sick they are. This ensures those who need lifesaving treatment are seen before people presenting for less serious conditions.

“WA Health staff, including those at Geraldton Health Campus, continue to perform extraordinary work in difficult circumstances and we need to support them by ensuring our emergency departments are being accessed for genuine emergencies.”

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