Opposition health spokeswoman Libby Mettam and Jane Brook resident Genna at Midland Hospital.

AMA WA says Midland ED situation not unique

AMA WA president Michael Page says the responsibility for fixing this problem lay with the state government and Treasury.
January 25, 2024
Anita McInnes

THE AMA WA, which represents doctors across the state, has come out in support of Midland health workers who have blamed the state government for not being able to meet the demands placed on their emergency department.

AMA WA president Michael Page said he was aware of the concerns at St John of God Midland Public Hospital.

“They’re not unique to Midland, in the sense that all of the hospitals remain under enormous pressure,’’ he said.

Dr Page said the responsibility for fixing this problem lay with the state government and Treasury.

“The hospital is not big enough, and doesn’t have enough inpatient beds,’’ he said.

“There are routinely patients in the emergency department who have been admitted to the hospital but can’t get out (of ED) because there are not enough beds in the hospital.

“That reduces the number of emergency department beds that are available for new ED patients drastically, which means patients wait in the waiting room or on the ramp in the ambulances.

“The doctors are burning out.

“The fact that they feel that it’s necessary to blow the whistle to the media is very much a last resort of very frustrated and tired doctors.

“And they’re frustrated with the government – they’re not frustrated with the hospital.

“They’re frustrated with the government because it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that care is available across the metropolitan area.”

Dr Page was echoing Liberal leader and Opposition Health spokeswoman Libby Mettam’s criticism of the Cook Labor Government on January 21 when she said St John of God Midland Hospital was just one example of a health system on its knees and that there were many stories across different tertiary hospitals and from country hospitals as well.

In response to Ms Mettam’s criticism Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson said it was best to contact the hospital directly about the health workers claims.

Jane Brook resident Genna, who did not want her surname published, said when they took their asthmatic two-year-old son to Midland hospital he was treated straight away as he was passing out but even though doctors said he should have stayed in for observation they were told that was not possible as there were not enough beds.

On Wednesday afternoon St John of God Midland Public and Private Hospitals chief executive officer Paul Dyer told Echo News that from  December 27 through until January 23, the hospital had called and stood down a code yellow (capacity) six times.

“It is important to note that January, particularly the Christmas and New Year period is historically one of the busiest times of the year for public emergency departments,’’ he said.

On January 19 St John of God Health Care announced a new standalone private hospital would be built about 300m from the current hospital campus.

The McGowan government’s 2023-24 Budget included $81.1 million in 2026-27 to expand public services at St John of God Midland Public Hospital through the purchase of 60 beds and three operating rooms.

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