Revelations that some elective surgeries will likely continue to be cancelled for the rest of the year while the McGowan Government scrambles to develop a plan is unacceptable, according to Shadow Health Minister Libby Mettam.

The admission from the Health Department comes after it was revealed 61 elective surgeries have been cancelled in the past two weeks and it was likely that further cancellations would continue to occur for several months as they worked to relieve pressure and free up beds.

Ms Mettam said it was clear the McGowan Government had been caught asleep at the wheel and was failing to prioritise elective surgeries.

“This is not a new issue. It has been building over the past four years and the elective surgery waitlist has blown out by almost 50 per cent under the McGowan Labor Government,” Ms Mettam said.

“Now, due to a lack of investment and mismanagement, this government has been caught on the back foot struggling to cope with a foreseeable problem.

“It is unfathomable that a State like Victoria, that has managed multiple COVID-19 outbreaks in its health system, can manage its elective surgery lists but WA, which has no community COVID-19 cases and is yet to record any real influx of flu cases, has had to take this measure.

“It speaks of incompetence, an inability to plan for the future and a lack of prioritisation for these surgeries, many of which involve people in considerable pain and discomfort that face further uncertainty about when they may actually receive care.”

It is not clear whether those patients’ whose surgeries have been cancelled have received an alternative date.

“The true extent of the problem is really concerning and this is coming from a government that claims to focus on keeping West Australians safe.”

*Since March 2017 the elective surgery waitlist has expanded from 19,931 patients to 29, 980.”

Elective Surgery Monthly Report (health.wa.gov.au)