The Opposition have reiterated calls for the Health Minister to take responsibility for the health crisis in the State after multiple reports from Perth Children’s Hospital (PCH) staff cast doubt on Government rhetoric that understaffing was not an issue.
Leader Mia Davies said text messages had been sent between PCH management and staff in recent days calling for urgent help as the PCH emergency department was once again stretched beyond capacity.
“We are hearing two conflicting stories from the Minister for Health and the clinical staff at PCH,” Ms Davies said.
“On one hand, the Minister for Health has been running a PR blitz this week, denying the concerns of frontline healthcare workers – while at the same time the emergency department has been left desperately understaffed.
“Nursing staff are frustrated and upset that their concerns about staffing levels are being ignored, and they are telling us they feel exhausted, morale is catastrophically low, and they are in fear of becoming scapegoats for the Government’s failures.”
Ms Davies said clinical staff had spoken out after becoming frustrated by the Government’s rhetoric this week.
“Understaffing at PCH is not a new issue. Staff have been raising concerns about this for many months with their executive and their union to no avail.
“The Minister is either oblivious or he’s deliberately ignoring the advice and concerns coming from the staff. That makes us question whether he’s the right person for the job.”
Shadow Health Minister Libby Mettam said it was concerning to hear claims staff were turning down emergency department shifts.
“Anecdotally, we are hearing staff don’t want to work in the ED and they are turning down shifts because they feel it is an unsafe working environment.
“They are telling us there aren’t enough senior staff and they feel they would be risking their own nursing registration to work there,” Ms Mettam said.
“The Minister continues to throw Department of Health employees and PCH staff under the bus and refuses to accept responsibility for an understaffed hospital and cutting corners on triage support.
“This is a Minister who has lost the confidence of the health sector, frontline health workers, and is rapidly losing the confidence of the people of WA,” Ms Mettam said.