MPs weigh in on Geraldton ambulance ramping

Headshot of Geoff Vivian
Geoff VivianGeraldton Guardian
File image.
Camera IconFile image. Credit: The Geraldton Guardian

Member for Geraldton Ian Blayney says Mid West volunteers and paramedics are bearing the brunt of the WA Government’s inability to provide adequate emergency department services at Geraldton Hospital.

He made the comment after questions in Parliament showed 44 occasions of ambulance ramping at the emergency department between January and September.

“More than once a week patients are forced to lie in ambulances — some who may have already travelled for considerable distances to reach Geraldton,” he said.

“Ambulance ramping is putting St John’s volunteers servicing the Mid West and Wheatbelt under more stress, costing them more of their time and adding to the risk of burnout.

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“It is an unfair price to pay, particularly for vollies who sacrifice work or social activities to assist the community, and it’s traumatic for patients being transported to hospital for urgent medical care.”

Mr Blayney said ramping rates under the McGowan Government were the worst in the State’s history and Health Minister Roger Cook had not responded adequately to fix wait times.

Agricultural Region Member Darren West said his Government recognised Geraldton Health Campus’ emergency department had been under pressure since St John of God Geraldton closed its emergency department several years ago.

“Data provided in the Department of Health’s Western Australia Emergency Access Target Performance Monthly Report shows that the number of patients presenting to the Geraldton Hospital emergency department has increased from 2018-2019,” he said.

“We also recognise that the staff at the Emergency Department at the Geraldton Hospital do an amazing job under trying circumstances every day.

“That is why we have commenced a $73.3 million redevelopment of the Geraldton Health Campus which will include 38 extra beds.”

Mr West said this would include a much bigger emergency department and a dedicated mental health unit that was currently unavailable anywhere in the Mid West.

“We have scoped this project to maximise local jobs,” he said.

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