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Health Minister embroiled in battle of ‘who said what’ about health crisis

Liam Bartlett
Article image for Health Minister embroiled in battle of ‘who said what’ about health crisis

The Health Minister is coming under increasing pressure over problems in WA’s hospital system after the death of a seven-year-old girl at Perth Children’s Hospital.

Roger Cook has repeatedly refused to admit the state’s health system is in crisis – and yesterday denied he was directly informed that staff at the children’s hospital were worried about the level of care they could provide.

But State Secretary of the Australian Nursing Federation Mark Olsen said he alerted the minister there were problems at the hospital in a phone call.

“I spoke to him a week prior to the election and in a conversation I said there are a number of issues in health,” he told 6PR’s Liam Bartlett.

“I alerted him to the fact that Perth Children’s Hospital ED had problems.

“They are not the kind of conversations you are going to forget.”

Nurses raised concerns about under-resourcing at PCH’s emergency department as far back as December.

“They said to the hospital executives this is going to take a catastrophic event before you do something about it, and when that catastrophic event occurs you’re going to throw the nurses under the bus, they are going to be your scapegoats,” Mr Olsen said.

“And how prophetic that was.”

Mr Olsen said staff shortages may have contributed to Aishwayra Aswath’s death.

“If you don’t have enough staff then of course you are not going to be able to do the checks you would normally perform.

“The prepotency for mistakes to occur is going to be far greater if you are running under staffed.”

The government has pledged more hospital beds, more nurses and an inquiry into the girl’s death .

Click play to hear more. 

(Photo: Matt Jelonek/Getty Images)

Liam Bartlett
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