333. Hon CHARLES SMITH to the parliamentary secretary
representing the Minister for Health:
I refer to a statement made this
week by the state government that it had ordered more than $15 million worth of
clinical equipment, including ventilators and ICU beds, to boost the WA public
health system's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
(1) When are all
these additional ventilators and ICU beds expected to be delivered and deployed
in Western Australian hospitals?
(2) How does WA compare with other states in terms of ICU
beds and ventilators per capita?
(3) Given that
the risk of a coronavirus pandemic became known in January, following the
outbreak in China, why was the order for additional ventilators and ICU beds
not placed earlier?
(4) Does the
state government consider it acceptable that Western Australia is totally
reliant on imported medical equipment and is subject to global supply delays
and disruptions during a crisis situation?
I thank the honourable member for
some notice of the question.
(1) As at 2 April
2020, 301 additional ventilators are on order. Of the 301 ventilators, 51 units
are expected to be received by mid-April, with the remaining 250 units
anticipated in June. An order of 500 low acuity emergency relief ward beds is
expected to be received by late April 2020.
(2) Western Australia cannot comment on the
appropriate number of ICU beds in other states. Western Australia is
planning for the appropriate resources required in WA to manage any surge in
Department of Health has closely monitored the pandemic since the outbreak was
reported in early January in China. The WA
public health emergency operations centre was activated in January to
coordinate the state response to this incident. The response to the risk
of the coronavirus pandemic has been in line with the WA state emergency
equipment is supported by a complex supply chain and Australian industry does
not currently have significant capacity to perform these end-to-end functions.
When possible, the Department of Health regularly conducts public tender
processes for local businesses to meet equipment needs, including ongoing
maintenance of key equipment. To reduce the risk associated with overseas
supply chains, key strategies are in place, including the diversification of
the supply chain and alternating the country of origin; holding a level of
redundancy equipment with the WA health system; placing forward orders for
replacement of equipment; and holding emergency stock as part of arrangements
with the Department of Health's disaster preparedness and management