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Katy Gallagher afraid to admit we may have problems with our Hospitals

By Jonathon Reynolds - 24 July 2007 23

The ABC is reporting here that the Federal Government is considering a Nationwide Leagues table to rate the quality and safety of Hospitals.

The Minister (never responsible for anything), Katy Gallagher, appears to be getting very anxious about the prospect of having her ACT hospital system compared to the rest of the nation. Apparently, according to Katy, the quality and safety aspects of hospitals can not possibly be compared because they are all different.

I suspect it is more likely that Katy is actually more worried that when compared to the rest of Australia the ACT hospital system will either not comply with or fall below the “standards” (the quantitative measures) against which you would be rating quality and safety.

What’s Your opinion?

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23 Responses to
Katy Gallagher afraid to admit we may have problems with our Hospitals
captainwhorebags 10:23 am 25 Jul 07

If you have to wait to get into the ED, then it is more likely to be a case of bed block rather than staff shortage. General lack of beds in the hospital wards (often due to elderly patients waiting for nursing home spots) means that people are stuck in ED waiting to be admitted.

Even though the system is in a seriously bad state, if you are sick you will get seen eventually. If you’re not seriously ill, then expect to wait a while. At least hospital care isn’t a privilege solely for the wealthy.

Tigs 10:02 am 25 Jul 07

I went to emergency at about 2.30am on a Saturday night, wasn’t that busy there were about 5 people waiting.
I spent 3 hours in emergency with a 17-year-old boy bleeding out on their floor. (He had a big cut in his leg)
I asked them about every ten mins when were they going to see him and kept getting told your next.
He finally passed out from blood loss. He had a blood pressure reading of 41 over 40. Pretty much not with the living.
By the time I had got home we had been there for over 24 hours for something that could have been cleaned in stitched within an hour.
I have no faith in the public health system…

gun street girl 9:32 am 25 Jul 07

You guys do realise that the emergency department is but the tip of a much bigger iceberg, don’t you? You could staff the ED with one hundred doctors and one hundred nurses 24/7, but that wouldn’t make a whit of difference to your waiting lists.

DarkLadyWolfMother 8:13 am 25 Jul 07

I’ve yet to have a good Emergency experience. In most cases it was simply too many people that needed to be treated by too few people. The nurses seemed to have to almost sprint between rooms, while doctors tried to be thorough and professional in the few minutes they could spare each patient.

In one case (and only one – just emphasising that), it seemed that nurses and doctors were too busy drinking coffee and joking around to be bothered with anything like patients.

There are quite a few people who don’t need to be there, but I’m not sure what options there are for people at 12 at night anymore. It used to be that (after Florey closed) there was simply nowhere other than CALMS (and they charged) to go.

What’s available now?

Thumper 8:07 am 25 Jul 07

Last time I went along to casualty I had a broken wrist.

After about five hours I got the shits and decided to go home and get some sleep. I came back in the morning and it only took about 3 hours to get fixed.

It was not the hospitals fault. It was at night and people were pouring in. They simply seemed understaffed and unable to cope with the influx.

In other news Simon dropped a clanger yesterday with regard to ambulance services. When asked if ambulance response rates were worse than previous, he answered that we had the best response times of anyone.

If that is not avoided a simple question then i don’t know what is.

sepi 11:13 pm 24 Jul 07

H duck – I heard Katy G say the second quote verbatim, live on ABC radio, I only caught the end, so she probably said both quotes.

It is a stupid point anyway – whoever is doing the comparison will know that a baby sleep school/hospital is different to major public hospitals.

ACT health care is struggling. As is NSW, and QLD by all accounts – and probably the rest. I can’t understand why some of our amazing budget surplus doesn’t go onto public health.

But elective surgery waits in the ACT are the longest in the country, so something is wrong here.

My sole experience in an ACT hospital was not that good – most nurses were quite good, but seemed rushed and stressed. Care was erratic.

I’ll be interested in the results of this review too.

iceu 10:21 pm 24 Jul 07

I’ve never had to use emergency or be admitted to the Canberra Hospital yet, but I see a specialist there every few months. Doesn’t really seem too different from the QLD hospitals I used to go to, he’s a great doctor. I’m definitely interested in the mentioned report though…

futto 8:41 pm 24 Jul 07

In other news, ACT Government officials claim that a nationwide benchmark of students would not be possible as “every student and school is different”.

hk0reduck 5:42 pm 24 Jul 07

This article makes my brain hurt.

Perhaps I am tired, but both quotes attributed to Katy Gallagher seem mangled.
“We report on nearly every area of safety and quality that we can report on, and we report every three months so that’s on our infection rates within the hospital, its also unplanned returns to theatre and so I certainly wouldn’t be afraid of providing that information infact we do so publicly now,”
“Say take Canberra hospital here as a regional tertiary referral hospital which does a range of very complex procedures cannot be measured against another one of our hospitals in the ACT which is the QEII hospital for mothers and babies because there’s simply no way of comparing them,”

FWIW I spent a lovely journey through the public health system last week. It really did suck, but I did eventually get dealt with. I am sure our public health system is a lot better then other countries.

I also hate the queue-jumping babies.

pierce 5:21 pm 24 Jul 07

Interesting problem – public health is badly underfunded so how do we skirt around that?

Compare them on a meaningless table which implies that it’s all their own fault.

piperdoon 4:59 pm 24 Jul 07

I agree that hospital casualty sees too many basic “take two asprin and call me in the morning” cases, but waiting lists for ‘elective’ surgery are too long unless you can afford private hospital and the ‘service’ leaves something to be desired in some of the wards I’ve had to sit in with ill paremts/in-las in their 80s this year. Basic provision only with staff slow to respond – and while I’m sure some will say they’re too busy, some certainly aren’t and the food doesn’t inspire either. Someone needs to stop running hospitals as a business and accept they will cost money!

bonfire 4:13 pm 24 Jul 07

if people werent too tight to go to a doctor when they are sick, instead of going to a hospital waiting room, they a lot of these problems would disappear.

neanderthalsis 3:41 pm 24 Jul 07

I wonder if they will count Hospitals that explode and kill people?

gun street girl 3:24 pm 24 Jul 07

Whilst I agree with Katy (a rare thing) about the logistics of comparing hospitals (ie TCH is not likely to fare well given that it services a large catchment of people with poor access to healthcare, and therefore, outcomes are worse as a result – they present late and do badly) – it is undeniable that the ACT system barely has its head above water. Food for thought:

nyssa76 2:54 pm 24 Jul 07

We have a problem when:

1) An asthmatic, with a severe asthma attack is left unsupervised for 4hrs in a cold waiting room
2) This is despite a GP calling ahead and speaking to the triage nurse and
3) The GP’s nurse driving the patient to the hospital herself and speaking to the triage nurse about the severity of the case.

Asthmatic ends up in hospital for a few days, strapped to an oxygen machine. Fun, fun, fun!

Gotta love ’em.

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