HOSPITALS — BED
89. Hon CHARLES SMITH to the parliamentary secretary
representing the Minister for Health:
I refer to the response to question
without notice 58 that I asked on 14 February 2019 about hospital overcrowding
and resultant poor health outcomes for Western Australians.
(1) Why does the state government not
have a benchmark for overcrowding?
(2) Does the
state government concede that Western Australia has the lowest number of beds
per capita of any state?
(3) Does the
state government accept the assertion of the Australian Medical Association WA
emergency medicine spokesman, Dr David Mountain, that WA needs another 500 to
700 beds just to catch up with the state with the next lowest bed stock?
(4) Does the
state government concede that the beds-to-population ratio is likely to further
deteriorate, given the state government is reducing real health funding in per capita
terms while placing further pressure on services by promoting population
I thank the honourable member for
some notice of the question.
(1) In line with
forecast demand, the Western Australian health system determines the capacity
required in terms of infrastructure and resources. Demand for hospital services
may at times be greater than forecast. Benchmarking is more appropriately
undertaken for key performance indicators related to the provision of services.
The WA health system is highly
effective and efficient and continues to lead the nation in key indicators such
as time in emergency departments and elective surgery wait times. This, along
with an increased proportion of same-day admissions and decreasing average
length of stay, makes beds-to-population ratios less relevant to performance.
(2) WA has 2.3
available beds per 1 000 people compared with the national average of 2.6 beds.
It should be noted, however, that WA Health has a number of services contracted
to the private sector and that beds related to these services are not counted
within that data. It should also be noted that the number of services
contracted to the private sector across all Australian jurisdictions is not
reported in the available data, and, as such, a comparison per capital across
Australia cannot be made. The source is the Report on Government Services.
growth is one of the key drivers for forecasting demand for hospital services.
The WA government continues to increase the funding for health services
consistent with these forecasts. Efficiencies in both clinical models and lower
average costs enable the WA health system to provide more services whilst
monitoring projected demand against available infrastructure.