26 September 2023

Health breathes easy over ventilators

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The Department of Health says more than 600 ventilated beds are to be made available under a new strategy to build critical capacity during the pandemic.

The Department said the beds would be provided over three steps and would be a significant boost from the previous capacity of 111 ventilated beds in public hospitals.

Minister for Health, Roger Cook said 10 additional ventilated beds had been brought online since March and these numbers would continue to rise steadily.

“The WA health system has a wide range of ventilators of different functions, some are long term, some are short term, some are for travel and some are more appropriate for COVID patients,” Mr Cook said.

“Not all ventilators are attached to beds,” he said.

“This strategic and methodical approach will see the entire WA health system work collaboratively to further prepare our hospitals for those that require critical care.”

He said ventilated beds would be readied in line with patient demand and surge capacity plans at all public hospitals to ensure the system was preparing in every possible way for a potential rise in COVID-19 patients.

“This will be followed by a cooperative approach with private providers to maximise access for patients who require this critical care,” the Minister said.

“This strategy also incorporates the purchase and delivery of an additional 301 ventilators — the first of which are due to arrive this month — and form part of more than $15 million of fast-tracked spending on vital equipment.”

He said highly skilled clinical staff remained paramount in the fight against COVID-19 and work was currently being undertaken to train and deploy a multidisciplinary workforce to support each ventilated bed.

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