Skip to content Skip to main navigation

Hospital wheelchairs or public art?

realitycheck 13 November 2010 29

I had the misfortune of having to go to Canberra Hospital Emergency on Wednesday with my Father and endure a  5 1/2 hour wait before seeing a doctor.

We sat patiently without complaining or questioning the staff as I have sympathy for the predicament they find themselves in. During the wait I was amazed at the amount of people who present themselves with minor ailments which surely must be the better suiter to the local GP than the emergency room.

An elderly gentleman was brought in by ambulance officers in a wheelchair as he could not walk. After a while a nurse asked him to sit on the chair so they could use the wheelchair for another patient as they don’t have enough.  His wife of course objected and the nurse was forced to go elsewhere in search of another wheelchair.

I became very frustrated that the people doing the constant complaining kept being put to the top of the list and were being called before us. At the 5 hour mark I changed tack and politely went to the desk and enquired about the wait and we were called shortly after.

Now, I have no problem with the staff as I know they are doing the best they can and are under constant pressure from the public and a system being clogged up with people who cannot afford the GP fees and go to the Hospital to get a certificate for free. But I have a big problem with a hospital not having enough basic equipment such as wheelchairs and adequate staff. How can the Government spend $27 million on the Arboretum or $750,000 on that metal monstrosity they call art on the Barton Highway when Hospitals do not have the staff or equipment to service the Canberra Community.

I don’t have a particular objection to public art and I like trees as much as the next person but surely the health services for the Canberra people come first. The Government cannot justify spending  money on Stanhopian Monuments when the people they are meant to serve are forced to suffer inadequate services. The system in place at the moment does not work and is only going to get worse.

How many wheelchairs can $750,000 buy?


What's Your Opinion?


Please login to post your comments, or connect with
29 Responses to Hospital wheelchairs or public art?
Filter
Order
vandam 8:57 pm 15 Nov 10

UrbanAdventure.org said :

vandam said :

In the ideal world, a hospital should only be used for people brought in by ambulance.

I would have thought that in an ideal world we would not need hospitals or ambulances. Because we’d all be healthy, free from injury and home births would be trouble and pain free.

Correct, however, according to the average female, I don’t think any kind of birth will ever be pain free. 😛

UrbanAdventure.org 12:20 pm 15 Nov 10

vandam said :

In the ideal world, a hospital should only be used for people brought in by ambulance.

I would have thought that in an ideal world we would not need hospitals or ambulances. Because we’d all be healthy, free from injury and home births would be trouble and pain free.

Dimsim 8:27 pm 14 Nov 10

If your father had to wait 5 1/2 hours, chances are whatever he had wasn’t a genuine ’emergency’. I had to take a mate in with severe pain (he unfortunately died later that night) and he was seen to immediately.

Severe pain, life threatening situations and serious injuries should be the only things people present for. Everyone else needs to take a spoonful of concrete I think.

I’m related to an emergency dept worker. The majority of the stuff which goes through there is trivial or self inflicted (drugs).

I-filed 8:18 pm 14 Nov 10

realitycheck “conversations” don’t exist as far as ministers are concerned. They ONLY respond when there’s a written record. INteresting insight into the Greens, thanks. They are, like the federal independents, only concerned with their own backsides now. Yes, that generous pay and ridiculous superannuation is a carrot.

realitycheck 6:42 pm 14 Nov 10

TM888 said :

realitycheck, I’ll ask again, have you written to the Minister about your concerns? You raise some good points, and it’d be a shame to only share those thoughts with the people on this forum. If you write a letter to the Minister seeking answers to specific questions – you need to actually state that, or they will send you a generic response – then the Minister is required to respond to you. I’d love an update if you decide to do that, and what response you get down the track.

I have had many conversations with ACT ministers from all parties regarding another issue and honestly would not waste my time with any of them. At least the feedback from the RiotAct are peoples honest opinions whether I agree with them or not.

The ministers are too busy making sure their own interests are protected. I was actually told by a Greens MLA when I questioned why they were not asserting pressure on the Government “How are we supposed to do that” followed by “We don’t want to look like the bad guys”.

Not really words that fill you with confidence.

Rangi 2:15 pm 14 Nov 10

I should clarify the bloke with the finger I was with got seen right away,so they could do the re-attach and he wasn’t bleeding much thanks to the 1st aid the guys he was with did. Not sure what was wrong with the bleeding in a bowl guy other that he was holding a bloody mess driping into a bowl, he was there when we arrived and ages later he was stll there as I left my bloke overnight, but wasn’t dripping anymore.

TM888 1:04 pm 14 Nov 10

realitycheck, I’ll ask again, have you written to the Minister about your concerns? You raise some good points, and it’d be a shame to only share those thoughts with the people on this forum. If you write a letter to the Minister seeking answers to specific questions – you need to actually state that, or they will send you a generic response – then the Minister is required to respond to you. I’d love an update if you decide to do that, and what response you get down the track.

realitycheck 12:11 pm 14 Nov 10

godot64 said :

You don’t say why your dad was there, but the fact that you waited for five and a half hours suggests that it was neither life threatening nor severely painful. Yes, its unpleasant to be ill, but triage is all about doing the best you can for patients in the time and resources you have.

We went to our GP first and were instructed to go straight to the ED which we did. Dad was never going to die but was in severe pain and in fact for the first time in my life I saw the man in tears.

I spoke to the nurse about the wheelchair situation and also the doctor who saw us and both told me they did not have enough. I actually questioned the doctor as to how a Canberra hospital can not have enough wheelchairs when the Government is spending so much money on public art. It was this conversation that got me thinking and questioning the Governments priorities.

The issue is not how long we should wait or how much we should spend but rather how the system we are using does not work. The USA spends more money on health care than any other westernized country in the world yet they are not healthy, so simply throwing money at it does not work. This fact alone should make us distance ourselves from following any system that is used in the USA but unfortunately we continue to go down this path.

It only takes one trip to a shopping mall to see that the Australian people are unhealthy and the effect this will have on our health care system in the future will be astronomical. We have all been conditioned to eat rubbish food, treat as gospel what every health authority tells us and pop whatever pills are prescribed by our doctors without question.

Canberra is a wealthy city and should have the best health care system in the country but continue to follow outdated and ineffective systems and ideas. We need to get politicians who have some vision and the guts to change things but I am yet to see one.

Lets spend money on the Arboretum, public art and AFL teams but only after we get the more important things right.

Punter 11:37 am 14 Nov 10

sepi said :

You can’t tell if people are sick by just glancing at them. The hyperactive kid may have been on asthma medication – that will send some kids crazy like that. Old people with a sniffle may also have a serious heart problem. I dont’ think anyone goes to casualty with a sniffle – why would you – noo0ne in their right mind wants to wait 5 hours for treatment. You can see the chemist for a sniffle.

One problem is people only go to emergency when they feel they are in a serious situation, so then being told to wait 6 hours seems ridiculous.

Triage places patients in an order of priority based on the symptoms that are present, not on what might happen, and this is based on more than just a ‘glance’ as you suggest. There’s nothing to say the relatively minor ‘hyperactive kid’ or the ‘old people with a sniffle’ can’t be treated by their GP or even the chemist as you say, but without the wait. The mere fact someone is able to wait for 6 hours for treatment is a good indication their situation is not serious and they probably don’t belong in accident and emergency.

I think people will wait five hours for the treatment of a sniffle or similar because they don’t want to pay for their GP and only receive a fraction of that cost from Medicare.

vandam 11:21 am 14 Nov 10

sepi said :

One problem is people only go to emergency when they feel they are in a serious situation, so then being told to wait 6 hours seems ridiculous.

Incorrect!!!! Most people go there to get a free assessment rather than paying for it.

In the ideal world, a hospital should only be used for people brought in by ambulance. If it is that serious you would expect an ambulance to be called!!! If not there are plenty of medical centres around canberra to deal with broken bones and sniffles etc etc. And even if you do go to a medical centre and the doctor feels it is serious enough to warrant a trip to the hospital, they will call a ambulance for you.

So the only concluesion is: there are a bunch of tight ass Canberrans who don’t want to pay for medical treatement (would rather whinge about a 5 hour wait) and think the world revolves around their petty illnesses which in most cases will heal themselves.

sepi 10:09 am 14 Nov 10

You can’t tell if people are sick by just glancing at them. The hyperactive kid may have been on asthma medication – that will send some kids crazy like that. Old people with a sniffle may also have a serious heart problem. I dont’ think anyone goes to casualty with a sniffle – why would you – noo0ne in their right mind wants to wait 5 hours for treatment. You can see the chemist for a sniffle.

One problem is people only go to emergency when they feel they are in a serious situation, so then being told to wait 6 hours seems ridiculous.

Bosworth 10:03 am 14 Nov 10

I went to Canberra Hospital Emergency on Wednesday too!

The staff were all very good. The wait time of 4 hours was undesirable, but expected.

I-filed 9:48 am 14 Nov 10

Rangi said :

Just so I understand your point. You are saying you think we should be happy with crappy medical services because they are better than some countries, but we should be worried about humanitarian aid…..unless we instead can spend the money on art but only if you personally deem it good (being that what people class as good art varys person to person)

Hi Rangi, thanks for asking, I don’t think you understood my point. I didn’t say we should be spending our health money in Haiti (we do that already through charities and AusAID) or our public art money in Haiti. I said we should thank our lucky stars that we have a well-functioning medical system. Yeah, if you cut the top of your finger off you’ll bleed lots – and it’s better to bleed into a bowl than go through masses of bandages. Bleeding hard but not in a life-threatening way doesn’t put you ahead of trauma cases, sorry! Nothing wrong with the bleed-bowl solution. The staff can keep an eye on the blood flow that way. Yep, no doubt the “sick child” wasn’t at the top of the queue.
There probably are enough wheelchairs – it’s just that one was on another floor. It would be a bit rough to expect a nurse to leave Emergency and chase after a wheelchair when there’s one right there that can be vacated. “Enough wheelchairs” isn’t “so many wheelchairs that there is never a moment when an empty wheelchair isn’t nearby” (that would be wasteful).

godot64 5:20 am 14 Nov 10

I’ve been to ED at Canberra hospital twice. Both times I was in a lot of distress and was seen within about 10 minutes each time. On neither occasion would I have been able to wait very long, but the point is that I didn’t have to – the conditions that I presented with were clearly a priority (compound bone fracture and a spider bite that was creating breathing difficulties that was initially assessed as looking like a heart attack). I’d never dream of going to ED unless I was in huge amounts of pain or in fear of my life and I think that’s basically what ED is for.

You don’t say why your dad was there, but the fact that you waited for five and a half hours suggests that it was neither life threatening nor severely painful. Yes, its unpleasant to be ill, but triage is all about doing the best you can for patients in the time and resources you have.

Rangi 8:57 pm 13 Nov 10

I-filed you said “good public art is worth spending the money on” don’t you realise 800 people have died in Haiti due to a lack of water that’s fit to drink. A further 100,000 risk being infected. Oh hang on you do.

Just so I understand your point. You are saying you think we should be happy with crappy medical services because they are better than some countries, but we should be worried about humanitarian aid…..unless we instead can spend the money on art but only if you personally deem it good (being that what people class as good art varys person to person)

BTW I don’t think it is a scandal that people had to wait for ages or that an old bloke was asked to get out of his wheelchair, and I don’t think the OP did either, I read it more that they thought it wasn’t good enough and I agree in a wealthy country like this we should have enough wheelchairs and/or staff to go get them.

People who really need to be there should not have to wait for hours, like the guy I saw there bleeding so heavily they gave him a bowl to drip into (b4 you ask I was there looking after a bloke from work who had cut the top of his finger off) meanwhile there is a mother there with a ‘sick’young child who was screaming around the room climbing and jumping off chairs like a chimp on speed.

molongloid 4:09 pm 13 Nov 10

It’s triage, so in theory you will be seen quickly if your symptoms suggest something bad. It might be frustrating but you have to assume that the people who jump you are worse off… which is a good thing.

vandam 3:38 pm 13 Nov 10

I opted to pay for my consulation rather than waiting at the Canberra Hospital and it cost me $70 for what was a 2 minute consultation with a suggestion I gargle salt water for a nasty flu/cough.

I can appreciate that people don’t have the money to pay for that, however the Hospital should only be seen as a place people go to treat serious/life threatening injuries or surgery.

There are many other practices where x-rays can be done for broken bones and assessments for minor things etc.

In regards to the wait times:

At first nurses might expect you to be seen in 10 minutes, however when people are brought in by ambulance or patients conditions already undercare deteriorate, that 10 minutes can stretch out significantly. Unfortuantly they don’t have one on one staff to let you know your treatment has been delayed.

Punter 2:08 pm 13 Nov 10

dvaey said :

Punter said :

Realitycheck, you were right to have sympathy for the staff at the hospital. You’ll find triage staff are just as frustrated as you by minor ailments presenting to accident and emergency when they should be attending their GPs.

While I have all the sympathy for the staff, they need to understand the patients situation too. The biggest problem I have when attending ED, is being told theres a given wait-time, but that being nowhere near accurate. If theres going to be a 3hr wait, at least be up-front about it. Maybe that might stop the people turning up with a cough, being told theres a 15min wait and waiting half the day.

Sure, they might be times when they get a sudden influx of emergency patients, but its not like we’ve got brand new departments in Canberra, with no data on waiting times, or ability to estimate waiting times.

If you went to a restaurant and waited an hour after being told you’d be served in 10 minutes, youd feel the same. If youre told upfront theres an hour wait, chances are youll accept it (or go elsewhere) and not go ranting to the media about their service.

The thing about a triage system is you may be 2nd in line for treatment but if something more urgent comes in, you’ll be pushed back, and this includes those brought in by ambulance which you may not be aware of. The staff can only do so much for those waiting with the beds and resources available to them at the time. I appreciate the waiting is frustrating (I’ve spent time up there myself waiting with my kids) but expecting the staff to be able to predict what emergency cases come in during the time you’re waiting is asking a bit too much. The decision makers who are able to find a solution to this problem are at a higher level than those across the triage desk. Be kind to them, they are just as keen to get you the help you need as you are.

Brianna 2:05 pm 13 Nov 10

So many things can be cut to give the hospitals more funding. How about cutting the amount of golden hand shakes for the politicians retiring. The funding of the offices and staff for former prime ministers? Our health system is in very bad condition. The mental health situation is in an even worse condition. Time to cut the money from the politicians and direct it towards our health system.

I-filed 12:51 pm 13 Nov 10

A nurse asks someone to vacate a wheelchair because it’s needed, and that’s a scandal?

A five-hour wait for a non-emergency, and that’s a scandal?

Reality check, folks. 800 people have died in Haiti due to a lack of water that’s fit to drink. A further 100,000 risk being infected.

Thank your lucky stars that you’re in safe hands and the worst we have is that people with sniffles are turning up in Casualty instead of going to a GP, and they can be triaged to the back of the queue.

The issue of bad public art is separate: good public art is worth spending the money on.

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2019 Region Group Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
the-riotact.com | aboutregional.com.au | b2bmagazine.com.au | thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site