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Premier denies ‘major increase’ in mental health is connected to borders

Article image for Premier denies ‘major increase’ in mental health is connected to borders

The Premier says he doesn’t believe a rise in mental illness is connected to the state’s border closures.

He admitted on 6PR Mornings that a “major increase” in the number of mental health patients presenting to emergency departments is contributing to Perth’s ambulance ramping crisis.

Speaking to Liam Bartlett the Premier said a number of issues have created pressure in WA hospitals.

“Obviously we have had a difficulty over the last year with the enhanced cleaning regime in hospitals,” he said.

“We have two streams going into emergency departments respiratory and non respiratory that has slowed things down.

“We closed down elective surgery for months on end which created a big backlog, which has slowed things down as well.

“And finally we had a major increase in the number of mental health presentations.”

Liam Bartlett asked the Premier if he though borders were contributing to the rise in mental health patients.

“No I don’t, I think borders are well accepted as a measure to protect the state,” the Premier responded.

“There was a bit of a backlog, whereby people didn’t actually seek help over the darkest months of COVID.”

WA is experiencing some of the highest ambulance ramping figures on record.

And it was recently revealed that taxpayers are being slugged every hour an ambulance sits outside WA’s emergency departments.

But both St John Ambulance and the Health Department have refused to disclose how much it is costing, sighting commercial confidentiality as the reason.

The Premier denied knowing the exact figures of the payments and said he will seek advice from the Heath Minister.

Click play to hear the full interview. 

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