Barnett Government still has no plan to staff our hospitals

Friday 31 Aug 2012

With less than two years to go until the opening of the new Fiona Stanley Hospital, the Barnett Government has failed to outline how it will meet the expanded staffing needs of WA’s health system.

Health Services Union (HSU) Secretary Dan Hill said the State Government had no plan in place to meet the demand for Medical Imaging Technologists, Physiotherapists, Social Workers, Occupational Therapists, Medical Scientists and the many other allied health and health science professionals at Fiona Stanley Hospital.

“With Fiona Stanley Hospital due to open in the next two years, the State Government doesn’t appear to have any plans in place to train or recruit the extra health professionals the new hospital will need,” Mr Hill said.“The Barnett Government appears to have dropped the ball in relation to many of the health professionals required by a modern tertiary hospital. Statewide workforce planning for these essential health professionals has stalled under this government.

“As it stands, there is a very real danger of Fiona Stanley Hospital opening without fully operational key services, such as pathology, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and medical imaging.”

Mr Hill said the State Government appeared to be prioritising the development of new hospital infrastructure, while neglecting the development of the workforce required to run the new facilities.

“By far, the most important part of any hospital is the workers that provide the health services.

“Without urgent attention by the State Government, it is possible that Perth will have a shiny new hospital in Fiona Stanley, yet not have all the staff necessary to run it.”

Mr Hill said the HSU had raised its concerns with Health Minister Kim Hames a number of times.

“We have repeatedly raised these issues with the Health Minister over the last twelve months, both in letters and in face-to-face meetings, but he fails to respond.

“I am hopeful the Minister will take our concerns on board and implement measures to recruit and train the health professionals needed to staff the new facility and other hospitals around WA.”

The HSU represents more than 15,000 people employed in WA hospitals and health services, including for example administrators, clerks, technicians, physiotherapists, pharmacists, medical imaging technologists, psychologists, social workers, medical scientists, occupational therapists, dieticians, maintenance officers, podiatrists, mental health workers, and speech pathologists. All play a vital role in our health system.

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