Thursday, 12 August 2021
Western Australia: Health
Every Australian should have access to world-class health services, particularly in Western Australia, where we have a massive surplus and boosted GST receipts delivered by the Morrison government. But, sadly, that's not the case.
Yesterday, on 6PR, Premier Mark McGowan's health minister, Roger Cook, gave an extraordinary interview. When asked why our health system was in crisis, he blamed Western Australians. He blamed them for coming to hospital now with chronic and long-term health conditions that weren't appropriately treated over the last 18 months. He admitted that GPs were telling him that, because our health system is geared towards the pandemic, Western Australians are now generally sicker than they were before it started. Tumours have gone undiagnosed because our health system can't walk and chew gum at the same time. We have record hours of ambulance ramping: 5,200 for June alone. And we've seen tragic stories coming out of our hospitals—families who will be grieving for a lifetime.
As a direct result of Roger Cook's leadership, we have a health system in crisis. We have a system that can't cope with business as usual, let alone a public health emergency. He's out there spruiking over a billion in spending to upgrade the system and get more health staff in Western Australia, but he still refuses to admit that we have a problem. Gareth Parker, on 6PR yesterday, put to him a reasonable proposition: he asked if this situation gave the minister and other health leaders cause to reflect on their own performance over the course of the pandemic. The minister's response was that he thought that their performance had been outstanding.
Staff working in our health system and the public who use it deserve a minister who wants to get stuck in and sort this mess out. Sadly, that's not what they're getting with Roger Cook.