Needing lots of patience to see your GP
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.