With six days left in the month, the latest St John’s Ambulance figures show ambulances around WA have already been ramped for more than 5000 hours this month, almost equal to the June record.

Shadow Health Minister Libby Mettam said the figure would undoubtedly exceed the 5293 hour record for June and was expected to climb past 6000 hours by the end of the month.

“This is absolutely gobsmacking. To have a State that has no community COVID cases reporting these figures is an absolute disgrace and raises real questions about the Government’s preparedness to deal with an outbreak should one happen,” Ms Mettam said.

“While it’s easy to quote numbers, we know that these are more than just statistics on a page, these are actual patients inside ambulances or on stretchers inside a hospital corridor, often in pain and distress, waiting for hours on end to be received by hospital staff.

“The staff are doing the best they can but with escalating levels of bed block there literally is nowhere for the patients to go.

“This has in turn impacted ambulance response times to be able to attend to new cases as paramedics also wait for hours on end, leading to a worrying dangerous trend in response times.”

The Health Minister has continually tried to blame the increased acuity of cases for the delays but Ms Mettam said healthcare workers are reporting the complex cases are a symptom of elective surgeries being cancelled and people being asked to stay away from EDs last year if they didn’t need to attend.

“You can’t continually ask for or impose delays on medical care and then say the cases are now so complex it is clogging up the system,” Ms Mettam said.

“Forget the spin, essentially this a health system that has been rundown by a Labor Government that has its health priorities all wrong.

“We don’t need an inquiry into ambulance service delivery to know that the real issue behind these shocking levels of ramping is a lack of investment and resourcing by a Health Minister that has continually tried to cut corners in the health system.

“The Minister needs to stop grandstanding on COVID and start urgently addressing the bed block issue now before patient safety is compromised further.”