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Parliamentary Questions

Question On Notice No. 1923 asked in the Legislative Council on 12 March 2019 by Hon Martin Aldridge

Question Directed to the: Parliamentary Secretary representing the Deputy Premier; Minister for Health; Mental Health
Minister responding: Hon R.H. Cook
Parliament: 40 Session: 1
Tabled Paper No: 2607- View tabled paper

I refer to the Western Australia Country Health Service (WACHS) and codes used internally to designate hospital emergencies, and I ask:
(a) what are the codes used and how is each defined and in what circumstances are each activated; and
(b) for each WACHS facility from 1 January 2015 until present, identify the date, duration and type of code declaration?

Answered on 9 April 2019

I am advised:

(a) The WA Country Health Service (WACHS) defines emergencies that occur within its facilities in accordance with clause 2.2, Australian Standard (AS) 4083:2010 – Planning for emergencies – Health care facilities and clause 4.3, AS 3745:2010 Planning for emergencies in facilities

Emergencies may be activated within WACHS facilities as per the following circumstances:

Code red – fire/smoke - A code red emergency may be activated in response to an actual or suspected fire or smoke emergency within the facility grounds.

Code blue – medical emergency - A code blue – medical emergency may be activated for patients that meet certain clinical criteria. This includes, but is not limited to, airway threats, respiratory or cardiac arrest, a sudden fall in consciousness, oxygen saturations less than 84%, and seizure.

Code purple – bomb threat - A code purple emergency may be activated in response to an actual, or suspected, bomb threat or suspicious substance.

Code yellow – infrastructure and other internal emergencies - A code yellow emergency may be activated due to an emergency caused by infrastructure damage or other internal event that may adversely impact service delivery and/or the safety of staff, patients and visitors.

Code black – personal threat - A code black emergency may be activated in response to a person threatening harm to others or themselves.

Code brown – external emergency - A code brown - external emergency is defined as a multi-casualty incident that stretches or overwhelms the available local health resources and/or preparation for reception of a significant number of casualties.

Code orange – evacuation - A code orange emergency evacuation involves the movement of patients, staff and visitors within or from the facility in as rapid and safe manner as possible when lives are threatened.

In addition to the abovementioned emergencies, WACHS utilises two additional sub-codes, as mandated by Department of Health policy. This includes:

Code black alpha – infant/child abduction - A code black alpha emergency may be activated in response to an infant or child abduction.

Code black bravo – active shooter - A code black bravo – active shooter may be activated in response to an armed intruder actively shooting at occupants inside a facility.


(b) Please see tabled paper no.