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Emergency doctor explains what’s behind WA’s hospital crisis

Liam Bartlett
Article image for Emergency doctor explains what’s behind WA’s hospital crisis

An emergency health specialist says the government’s repeated claims of mental health presentations putting pressure on hospitals is just an excuse for a myriad of problems.

Yesterday the government announced category one and some non-urgent category two surgeries will be delayed to ease the burden on our struggling hospital system.

The Premier claims an increase in mental health patients during the pandemic is behind the loss of beds.

But WA Chair of the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine Peter Alley said in reality it’s a more complicated situation.

“The beds in our emergency departments are full of people needing to go to wards, and mental health patients make up maybe 15 per cent of those patients,” he told Liam Bartlett.

“So the other 85 per cent of patients are non-mental health presentations, so I’m not sure you can blame it all entirely on an increase in mental health presentations.”

He said mental health presentations have only risen a small amount in the last 12 months.

“It all boils down to capacity, or beds in the system … we don’t have enough beds in the system.”

Press PLAY to hear the full interview 

(Photo: iStock by Getty Images.) 

Liam Bartlett
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