- New $251.7 million package for a major reform program to improve access to emergency care and address the systemic causes of ambulance ramping
- Key component of McGowan Government's health focus in the 2022-23 State Budget
- Comprises 17 initiatives to reduce demand pressure in both short and long term
- Includes $74.1 million for innovative measures to secure more appropriate forms of care for long stay hospital patients
- Taskforce led by the Health Minister established to oversee implementation of reform
Improving the delivery of emergency care in our hospitals and tackling the systemic causes of ambulance ramping will be a major focus of new health budget initiatives in the McGowan Government's 2022-23 Budget to be unveiled next week.
The $251.7 million Emergency Department Reform Package comprises 17 initiatives that will focus on reducing demand pressures and enhancing system-wide coordination both in the short term and over the longer term.
A Ministerial Taskforce led by the Health Minister has been established to oversee implementation of the reforms.
The major reform package includes an $18.2 million investment in real-time data capability needed to manage system pressures and improve the flow of patients through emergency departments.
The Budget also includes $55.8 million to embed 24/7 registered nurses across 15 metropolitan and regional Emergency Department waiting rooms.
The Budget also includes $74.1 million for innovative measures to free up our emergency departments by securing more appropriate forms of care for long stay patients, who often have complex care needs and require suitable supports and residential accommodation. This includes:
- $59.5 million for 120 aged-care beds to help transition older patients out of hospital;
- $7.7 million to extend the Disability Transition Care Pilot;
- $5.8 million for a Long Stay Patient Fund for support measures tailored to the needs of individual patients experiencing barriers to being discharged from hospital; and
- $1.1 million for an additional five Transitional Accommodation Program places for adults with complex care needs.
The reform package also provides $55.2 million for telehealth services which provide patient care for people who do not need emergency department support and reduces emergency department presentations. These include:
- $39.6 million for COVID-19 Home Monitoring Program telehealth services;
- $10.5 million to provide video and telecommunication mental health support to children and families in the transition phase between services; and
- $5.1 million to continue the 24/7 WA Country Health Service Mental Health Emergency Telehealth Service in 2022-23.
The Virtual Emergency Medicine pilot, which better triages incoming patients in ambulances to appropriate services, will be bolstered with an additional $5.5 million injection to extend the pilot program in the South Metropolitan Health Service for two years and an additional $5 million to expand the program to East Metropolitan Health Service and North Metropolitan Health Service.
The Emergency Department package will also include:
- $10.8 million to continue the Active Recovery Teams Pilot Program for another year;
- A further $10.1 million will be spent to expand the capacity of the Complex Needs Coordination Team;
- $7.3 million to continue the Perth Sobering Up Centre and Low Medical Withdrawal Service;
- $3.5 million for the Cardiff Model of Violence Prevention Pilot at Royal Perth Hospital aimed at reducing alcohol-related ED presentations; and
- $750,000 for interim minor works and to develop a business case for a Paediatric Eating Disorders Unit at Perth Children's Hospital.
The reform package includes $2.4 million for the Emergency Access Response Program, to identify solutions for long term improvements to emergency care to reduce ramping.
In a first for WA, $3 million will be spent on preparing a business case for a State Health Operations Centre, which would seek to deliver better patient outcomes by ensuring better coordination for those people in need of emergency care including expediting access to specialist services, diverting unnecessary admissions to emergency departments and coordinating between regional and metropolitan services.
Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:
"The dedicated emergency care package is a key component of my Government's sustained and renewed investment into delivering the best of health care to Western Australians.
"This major reform will deliver Western Australians better access to health services, no matter where they live and address some of the pressure points of our health system.
"I want to thank each and every member of our health and mental health workforce who continue to give care and support to Western Australians when they need it and ensure they get the best of care no matter where they live in WA.
"COVID is still in the community and this year's budget also retains capacity to deliver on initiatives to keep protecting the health of Western Australians."
Comments attributed to Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson:
"The McGowan Government is embarking on a major reform program to improve emergency care delivery and address the systemic causes of ambulance ramping across Western Australia.
"This comprehensive reform package will focus on reducing demand pressures and enhancing system-wide coordination, consistent with the recommendations of the Sustainable Health Review.
"Addressing the root cause of the challenges facing our emergency departments will take time which is why our reform program includes immediate response measures and a dedicated Ministerial Taskforce to identify longer term, lasting improvements for patient care.
"This is the opportunity to change the way emergency care is delivered in Western Australia and ensure our world-class health system can meet the needs of our community into the future."
Minister's office - 6552 5900