Today’s Code Yellow at Fiona Stanley Hospital due to an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) failure is not a one-off but part of a wider, systemic issue that was supposed to be prioritised two years ago, according to the Opposition.
“There were 185 Code Yellows across the WA health system in 2020-2021 due to ICT failures, a shocking figure that highlights a system that is struggling to keep pace,” Shadow Minister for Health Libby Mettam said.
“That is 185 times our hospitals have been on diversion because basic infrastructure failed putting extra pressure on those emergency departments (EDs) at other hospitals having to treat those patients.
“Our EDs are already under extraordinary pressure. It’s astounding that in a ‘world-class’ health system such as ours we are calling internal emergencies in our hospitals because the ICT system can’t cope or is continually failing.”
Ms Mettam said the figure included 72 Code Yellows at Perth Children’s Hospital due to ICT failures.
“While all new infrastructure has teething problems, 72 Code Yellows in one year at our flagship hospital treating our most vulnerable residents is appalling,” Ms Mettam said.
“Two years ago, the Health Minister released a WA Health Digital Strategy that was supposed to “transform the future delivery of health services” and improve health outcomes for all Western Australians.”
Ms Mettam said the first two years was supposed to focus on building technological capability across the health system and prioritise investment in new clinical and support IT infrastructure but that clearly has not happened.
“Two years on and our hospitals are calling internal emergencies because their IT systems are failing,” Ms Mettam said.
“Once again, we have a Health Minister that is all talk and no action and it’s clear that four and a half years of chronic under-investment in our system is now affecting every aspect of our hospital operations.
“It also raises real concerns about our preparedness for future health challenges and what this government has actually been doing for the past 21 months to ensure our hospitals are ‘battle-ready’ for the ‘COVID’ storm.
“Our healthcare workers have continually been asked to do more with less and the least this Minister can do is ensure they are properly supported with functioning ICT systems. There really is no excuse for these rolling issues across the board.”