Need­ing lots of pa­tience to see your GP

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - JILL POULSEN

QUEENS­LAN­DERS are fac­ing long waits to see a GP, with only three in 10 surg­eries able to give ap­point­ments in un­der 24 hours, a News Corp sur­vey has found.

A hun­dred Queens­land doc­tors’ surg­eries were con­tacted to gauge wait­ing times.

It found 70 per cent had a 24- hour or more wait while only 30 per cent could make room on the same day. Re­gional surg­eries had longer wait times than in the city.

Health Min­is­ter Steven Miles said the re­sults con­firmed GPs had be­come less ac­ces­si­ble and af­ford­able.

“That means peo­ple who should be see­ing their GP are ei­ther go­ing straight to the emer­gency depart­ment or leav­ing their health con­cerns too long and then need­ing ur­gent treat­ment for con­di­tions that could have been pre­vented,” he said.

Queens­land Health has pre­vi­ously re­ported that of the 155,000 emer­gency depart­ment pre­sen­ta­tions across Queens­land pub­lic hos­pi­tals ev­ery month, 32 per cent are ail­ments a GP could treat.

Peo­ple have shown up at their lo­cal ED com­plain­ing of night­mares, acne, hic­cups, in­grown nails, blis­ters and warts.

“This puts more pres­sure on our pub­lic emer­gency de­part­ments, in­creas­ing the work­load for ED doc­tors and nurses who work tire­lessly to make sure crit­i­cally ill peo­ple are seen on time,” Mr Miles said.

The Health Min­is­ter also took aim at the Fed­eral Govern­ment’s de­ci­sion to cap bulk billing.

“It has put so much pres­sure on GPs we’re see­ing them close or stop of­fer­ing bulk billing,” he said.

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