The Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM; the College) welcomes the WA Government’s $1.9 billion health investment in the 2021-22 Budget, including the $100 million emergency department support package. To promptly address the dangerous hospital crisis in WA, ACEM urges the government to ensure this investment is delivered as soon as possible, and that there is equity of access across urban and struggling rural and regional areas.
The College particularly welcomes the funding for an extra 332 staffed beds across the hospital system. If established in inpatient wards, this increase in beds should positively impact hospital flow, and reduce ramping and dangerous access block. ACEM looks forward to hearing the details of where these beds will be, and when they will become available.
The College also welcomes the promise of 50 additional full-time equivalent staff in emergency departments, including medical, nursing, allied health and support services. We would encourage the government to create smart solutions for solving COVID-19-related recruitment problems and provide incentives for staff to work in rural and regional locations.
ACEM WA Chair Dr Peter Allely said, “The health investment by the WA Government is very welcome and we hope that it will have a significant and positive impact on hospital overcrowding. The system has been nearing crisis for a long time and these additional beds, and staff, are needed immediately to reduce the growing risk to patients and staff. We must also see equity between urban and rural and regional areas, as hospitals outside the cities are struggling enormously.”
“We are very pleased to hear of the significant investment in workforce. However, we have anxieties about where extra staff will come from as border restrictions are negatively impacting staffing recruitment from interstate and internationally and the government must find solutions to this.”
“We also need to see greater planning for the future as demand continues to grow. If we do not plan for the future then, despite this investment, we will still be in crisis in ten years’ time.”
ACEM President, Dr John Bonning said, “We are pleased that the WA Government has recognised the grave urgency of the hospital crisis and has offered a substantial investment to attempt to solve it. Now, we must see these investments rolled out as quickly as possible to see an improvement in hospital overcrowding, access block and ramping. We now look forward to working with the government to swiftly implement solutions to ensure the people in WA get the healthcare they need, when they need it – now and in the future.”
ACEM is the peak body for emergency medicine in Australia and New Zealand, responsible for training emergency physicians and advancement of professional standards. www.acem.org.au
Media Contact: Melissa Howard, Media Relations Advisor [email protected] 0427 621 857