Pa­tient pa­tients set for a long wait

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - JES­SICA MARSZALEK

PA­TIENTS wait­ing for spe­cial­ist ap­point­ments are lan­guish­ing in queues for up to a year longer than rec­om­mended, new fig­ures show.

Half of pa­tients wait­ing for ur­gent, cat­e­gory- one ap­point­ments in ar­eas such as di­a­betes, vas­cu­lar surgery, neu­rol­ogy and pain man­age­ment are wait­ing longer than the rec­om­mended 30 days.

And fewer than one in five peo­ple told to see a neu­ro­sur­geon within the month man­age to get an ap­point­ment in time, with most wait­ing al­most a year.

The lat­est fig­ures for Queens­land’s wait­ing list for spe­cial­ist ap­point­ments show wait times have dras­ti­cally im­proved over the past two years,

But some spe­cial­i­ties still carry ma­jor blowouts, in­clud­ing for pa­tients need­ing plas­tic and re­con­struc­tive surgery, rheuma­tol­ogy ser­vices, urol­ogy ap­point­ments and vas­cu­lar surgery.

A cat­e­gory- one ap­point­ment should be at­tended within 30 days, but pa­tients are wait­ing 277 days for neu­ro­sur­geons, 183 days for vas­cu­lar sur­geons, 97 days to talk to a spe­cial­ist about pain man­age­ment and 94 days for a gas­troen­terol­o­gist.

How­ever, wait lists have been slashed in other dis­ci­plines, with pa­tients sail­ing into ur­gent or­tho­pe­dic, car­diac surgery, ob­stet­ric and on­col­ogy ap­point­ments.

Health Min­is­ter Cameron Dick said that 104,000 Queens­lan­ders waited longer than clin­i­cally rec­om­mended in 2015. Ex­tra doc­tors and nurses and a set plan to tackle the “wait­ing list for the wait­ing list” had re­duced that num­ber to 38,000, or by 67 per cent, he said. He said he wished he could prom­ise wait­ing lists would drop to zero, but that was un­re­al­is­tic.

He said there were chal­lenges in ar­eas where there were few spe­cial­ists and few spe­cial­ists grad­u­ates.

“We don’t con­trol the train­ing of spe­cial­ists in Queens­land Health; that is led by the col­leges,” he said.

“So there are still chal­lenges in a num­ber of spe­cial­ties, but we have a ded­i­cated fo­cus on re­duc­ing this long wait.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.