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New report on ‘ramping’ at hospitals

 • WA Police Union releases report on ‘ramping’ at WA public hospitals;

• In 2021-22, police and prison cars made 9,241 presentations to emergency departments (“EDs”): only 24 per cent resulted in admission, and 50 per cent were seen on time;

• Median waiting time for commencement of clinical care was 40 minutes; • Median stay was 5 hours and 22 minutes for patients later admitted to hospital, and 2 hours and 42 minutes for those not admitted; and

• Approximately 40 per cent of the presentations are mental health-related.


While the number of presentations by police and prison cars have fallen, the median waiting time has increased, meaning that police officers are spending more time than ever before ‘ramping’ at hospitals.

Presentations by police and prison cars are down from a high of 11,488 in 2018- 19 to 9,241 in 2021-22. But over the same period, the median waiting time has increased from 28 minutes to 40 minutes.

Based on the median waiting time and number of presentations made by police and prison cars, the union estimates that in 2021-22, police officers spent a record-breaking 6,141 hours waiting with patients for clinical care.

With the WA Police standard response time for Priority 1 and 2 calls being 12 minutes, that’s equivalent to 592 calls of that nature being answered every week.

It’s also more than double our estimate of 3,072 hours of ramp-up time eight years earlier in 2013-14.

When police officers are required to stay with a patient in the ED to apply restraint and/or prevent self-harm, they can be at the hospital for much longer. 

The big elephant in the room is mental health. Any police officer will tell you that we’re spending more time than ever before undertaking welfare checks and conveying mental health patients to hospital.

WA has the fastest-growing number of mental health presentations by all responders. Increasing by 94.8 per cent from 19,809 in 2011-12 to 38,592 in 2020-21.

Next month, the union will release ‘Code Blue’: our first ever mental health policy. In the interim, I encourage policy makers to consider the impact of increasing demand for mental health services on the long-term sustainability of both our police and hospital systems.



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