Today’s announcement that elective surgeries will be delayed for at least a month at a time when WA has no community COVID-19 cases is a serious indictment on the Health Minister’s ability to do his job, Shadow Health Minister Libby Mettam said.

“This is not a new issue. It has been building over the past four years and while the elective surgery waitlist has blown out by almost 50 per cent under the WA Labor Government since 2017*, the level has been consistently around 28-30,000 cases for more than a year,” Shadow Health Minister Libby Mettam said.

“For the WA Government to implement this measure again without any COVID-19 cases in the community shows they are asleep at the wheel unable to plan for a foreseeable problem.

“Many of these patients are experiencing pain that is severely impacting their life and to have their surgeries delayed is distressing.

“If the system is already struggling to cope and we are in this position without any COVID-19 cases, what will happen if and when there is a COVID-19 outbreak and how long are these patients going to have to wait to receive the care they need and deserve?”

Ms Mettam said the WA Labor Government’s cost-cutting and under-resourcing of the system over the past four years had left the system in a dire state.

“It’s clear the WA Labor Government has been solely focussed on cost-cutting and WA patients are yet again, paying the price.”

Ms Mettam said patients also deserved to know how the Government planned to “catch up” on the delayed surgeries and what measures would be put in place to deal with an expected bigger backlog in a month’s time.

“It’s cold comfort for those on the waitlist to hear the Minister’s comments that they ‘would need to play catch up at some point’.

“What they want is a plan and that’s something this Government seems incapable of as they struggle to cope with all the fires in the health system started under their watch.”