Figures obtained by the Opposition have revealed that the growth in bureaucratic and non-frontline workers in the Department of Health has been double the growth in the number of those working on the frontline.

Shadow Health Minister Libby Mettam said the figures illustrated the McGowan Government has its priorities all wrong.

“It’s extraordinary given the chronic and often dangerous shortage of nurses on the frontline that the biggest growth in employees in the Department of Health is in the number of bureaucrats or non-frontline services,” Ms Mettam said.

“There has been a 12.6% increase in frontline workers compared to a 32% increase in Department of Health workers since the McGowan Government came to government.”

The figures compared the last quarter of 2016/17 with the last quarter of 2020/21 and showed that total Frontline Health Workers increased from 23,182 to 26,106 FTE, representing an increase of 12.6%.

While over the same period, non-frontline staff within the Department of Health had increased from 913 to 1,205 FTE, representing a significant 32% growth.

“This raises concerns about how the WA Labor Government have run down the health system to a point where we are seeing a desperate game of catch up at a time when we should be better prepared,” Ms Mettam said.

“Our frontline health workers are continually being asked to do more with less, in a system that has been severely under-resourced over the past four years.

“The Minister has committed to new graduates and whilst this is welcome, junior nurses require support by experienced nurses and clinical educators.

“We have also been hearing about a UK nurse recruitment campaign since earlier this year and as revealed last week a prominent UK nursing agency has not heard from the State government, despite many nurses who are keen to relocate.

“Where is the fast tracking of recruitment?

“It is extraordinary that despite the fact that we have a health system in crisis the operating expenditure of health is below growth this year and will see a cut of 2% next year.

“This chronic shortage has also led to significant discontent amongst this vital frontline workforce which has seen less than half of the workforce feeling valued for the work they do.”