Wait­ing list row brew­ing

Townsville Bulletin - - National Snapshot -

QUEENS­LAND’S Acti n g P r e m i e r P a u l Lu­cas has hit back at re­ports thou­sands of pa­tients are wait­ing up to five years to see med­i­cal spe­cial­ists be­fore they can be added to the state’s surgery wait­ing list.

Nearly 200,000 peo­ple are on ‘‘ se­cret wait­ing lists’’ while they wait for a spe­cial­ist ap­point­ment for up to five y e a r s , t h e C o u r i e r - Mai l news­pa­per has re­ported.

Mr L u c a s , t h e f o r me r health min­is­ter, said an in­creas­ing and age­ing pop­u­la­tion were fac­tors.

‘‘ Aus­tralia has the sec­ond­high­est life ex­pectancy on earth . . . peo­ple get older . . . and that does pro­vide even more chal­lenges for us,’’ he said. ‘‘ De­mand is ever in­creas­ing. Other states have the abil­ity to bulk-bill far more of those to Medi­care.

‘‘ We see about two mil­lion spe­cial­ist out­pa­tients ap­point­ments . . . per year.’’

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