Where is the love? ‘Bureacratic absurdity’ makes hospital visits difficult | AMA (WA)


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Where is the love? ‘Bureacratic absurdity’ makes hospital visits difficult

Friday March 4, 2022

Australian Medical Association (WA)

With the full border opening yesterday, AMA (WA) President Dr Mark Duncan-Smith held a media conference, in which he welcomed the opening, reflected on the better preparedness an extra month had afforded the State, and called for greater compassion due to an anomaly regarding hospital visitors. The following encapsulates some remarks from the media conference.

“The AMA (WA) welcomes the border being brought down. We have higher levels of local cases, and the several cases that may come in due to travel will be insignificant with respect to the total number of cases, and therefore will not materially affect our peak.

We also welcome the introduction of Level 2 restrictions, which are needed to flatten the curve and to keep our peak number of cases at 10,000 a day. Our hospital system will cope with that influx, but if the peak does become significantly greater than 10,000 cases a day, our medical system may collapse. The hospitalisation rate at the moment is low and that’s encouraging. However, hospitalisations do lag behind the peak number of cases on a given day by about two weeks, so we can expect those numbers to go up in the near future.

The bringing down of the borders also recognises the importance of family reunification with loved ones, and compassion. The AMA (WA) welcomes the improvement in compassion, but unfortunately the McGowan Government is giving with one hand and taking away with another.

I call on the McGowan Government to immediately include spouses and partners as essential visitors, so that these people can be with their loved ones when they’re sick and unwell. Under the current arrangements, a grandmother of 80 years of age cannot visit her husband who’s having a heart attack, but she can go to a nightclub on the way home. This is bordering on bureaucratic absurdity, and we call on the Government to correct this immediately.

The current definition of essential visitors does not include first-degree relatives, spouses or partners, and this does not pass the pub test. The process to become an official visitor and get approval is also arduous and has to be applied for every day. We call on the Government to change this arrangement so that approval as an essential visitor is for an episode of care.

The WA health system is definitely better than where we were a month ago. That extra month has allowed us to develop better clinical guidelines, better lines of communication and methods of transport, and it will allow us to deliver a more efficient medical system for the resources that we have.

More importantly, that month has allowed us to go from 35 per cent boosted to 70 per cent boosted, which means that the actual demand on the medical system will be significantly less.”


Please contact AMA (WA) Media via email media@amawa.com.au for further information on this issue.