The Cook Labor Government has broken yet another regional health promise, confirming this week it would not deliver on their election commitment to establish Urgent Care Clinics in multiple regional locations.
Shadow Minister for Regional Health Martin Aldridge MLC has led a debate in Parliament this week exposing the Labor Government’s “litany of failed projects, budget cuts and service reductions” for regional healthcare.
“The Cook Labor Government’s failure to deliver Urgent Care Clinics is another broken promise and yet another example of WA Labor leaving communities in the dark about their regional health priorities,” Mr Aldridge said.
Ahead of the 2017 State election, then Shadow Health Minister Roger Cook promised to deliver Urgent Care Clinics in Albany, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, the Kimberley, and the Pilbara.
“In 2017, Roger Cook claimed these clinics would divert thousands of patients away from emergency departments, ensuring priority patients were seen faster, while non-priority patients were still given the treatment they needed.
“The revelation that this signature election commitment was in fact abandoned over 18 months ago, following a hidden report, highlights WA Labor’s lack of transparency and failure to address pressing health needs in regional WA.”
Mr Aldridge also highlighted an increase in renal dialysis care wait times in several regional areas and lashed the Labor Government for failing to deliver on their election commitment to establish a renal centre in Halls Creek.
“In 2021, Labor promised to deliver a renal dialysis centre in Halls Creek, but no funding has appeared to make this project a reality, and the State government has been totally silent on this project ever since, raising doubts about its future.
“Meanwhile, regional dialysis wait time are increasing in many locations, including Carnarvon and Port Hedland, which at more than 400 days each have the longest average waiting times in WA.” The average renal dialysis waitlist times have also increased in Geraldton (287 days), Fitzroy Crossing (225 days), Kalgoorlie (183 days) and Broome (130 days) since 2020.
It was also revealed that Labor’s closure of maternity services in Carnarvon in February 2022 has impacted 163 families to date, costing the State Government over $635,000 in transport and
“The fact that you cannot give birth to a child in WA between Geraldton and Karratha in a State as prosperous as WA is an absolute disgrace,” Mr Aldridge said.
“And revelations that families have been diverted as far away as Perth, Bunbury, and even Busselton – over 1,000 kilometres away – to give birth, isolated from friends, family, and their communities, is a blight on our State Government.
“Coming off the back of Labor’s broken promises to deliver a new Laverton Hospital after six years in power, extensive delays to the Geraldton Health Campus redevelopment, and $14 million in budget cuts to dozens of regional hospitals, the future of regional health is looking grim.”