WA Country Health Service deny Margaret River staffing shortage as contract negotiations enter second week

Charlotte EltonThe West Australian
Margaret River Hospital.
Camera IconMargaret River Hospital.

The WA Country Health Service have denied staffing issues at Margaret River hospital, as contract negotiations with health staff enter their second week.

Last month, on-call Margaret River doctors revealed that they have no back-up surge roster in the case of critical emergencies — and instead rely on an informal “Phone A Friend” system.

After these revelations emerged, Margaret River Surgery owner Dr Catherine Milligan told the Times the town’s doctors were “getting tired.”

“There’s no capacity to call for help. There’s no roster,” she said in June.

The WACHS presented sub-contractor doctors with a new contract on June 30 — but denied any staffing issues at the hospital.

“Contract negotiations are still under way. Both parties have agreed to extended the current arrangements in the interim,” they said.

“There are no deficits in the medical roster and the team at Margaret River Hospital continue to deliver safe, patient centred care.

“There is not a staff shortage at the facility and there is no barrier to calling in extra staff when required.”

This week, Dr Milligan expressed hope that WACHS was listening to the concerns of health staff.

“We are still negotiating the contract, but WACHS is responsive, and we are expecting a meeting with senior medical bureaucrats in the near future,” she said.

“There has been increased funding for extra medical staff over the July school holidays which has been most welcome.”

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