Labor leader Mark McGowan has vowed to drive down the public hospital waiting with the promise of $45 million over three years to provide an extra 8300 elective surgeries and employ an extra 200 nurses.
Making the pledge at the construction site of Fiona Stanley Hospital in Murdoch this morning, Mr McGowan said there were currently 15,994 people on the waitlist, with a further 24,000 people waiting to be put on the list.
“People waiting for essential surgery, often too long, is not acceptable in a modern, wealthy, affluent State like Western Australia,” he said.
“Our health system is overstretched and struggling to cope with our fast-growing population.
“Instead of meeting these challenges, the Barnett Government has failed to drive down wait lists for elective surgery, with an extra 2000 people now waiting for surgeries since they came into office.”
Mr McGowan said the Government had said no one would wait longer than the clinically acceptable waiting period for their level of surgery.
However, he said Department of Health figures show only 84 per cent of the most urgent cases are treated within the recommended time.
“Our hospitals have longer queues, with ambulance ramping hitting an all-time high in the 2012 September quarter,” he said.
“Too many patients are waiting too long for surgery and the waiting list continues to grow.”
Debbie McRichie said her husband Dean had been waiting to have a surgery known as Whipple procedure, which treats cancerous tumours on the pancreas, since November 19.
She said despite having private health insurance they were told the procedure needed to be done in a tertiary hospital.
The delay, she has been told, is because of a lack of theatre time.
“Every month I get told hopefully this month,” she said.
“He continues to lose weight and it’s doing his head in as well as his body.
“I just think that people need to consider that our situation could be theirs tomorrow and reality is while you can wait awhile for lots of things, you can’t wait for your health.“Personally, whether Elizabeth Quay gets developed or where the new stadium is isn’t really going to matter to us if Dean doesn’t get the surgery he needs now because he’s not going to get to enjoy it.”
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