Over the past few months I have been experiencing bouts of extreme fatigue and recently dizziness. I have had huge problems trying to get that diagnosed. On an APS2 wage I can’t afford to pay to see a doctor. I finally managed to get in to see a doctor at Winnunga who did a whole series of blood tests as part of the diagnosis. A couple of days later they called me and asked me to come in for some urgent tests. I explained that I didn’t have much sick leave left but they insisted. So I went in the next morning nice and early. I was there about 9:30. The waiting room was pretty quiet, with less tan 10 people in over the whole time I was there. By 11:20 I had still not been seen so I asked how much longer it would be. I was told that there were still 4 patients before me. How that was possible was beyond me as there were not even 4 people in the waiting room and all 4 had arrived after me, and several of them had already been seen by medical staff. They don’t have a booking or triage system there. It is first in first served.
As I really had to get to work, having wasted half of my day I could not wait any more so I had to leave. I wasn’t seen by a doctor and was not given a medical certificate so I was not paid for that morning, and had to fork out $45 in taxi fare.
Then today at work I was feeling light headed again. I presented to the Queanbeyan hospital at 10:40. I saw the triage nurse who did a blood test and told me my blood sugar was a little high meauring 14. At 1:08 pm I told the emergency receptionist that I had anxiety and was stressed and asked how much longer I’d have to wait. I was told there were at least 3 ahead of me so I asked if I could get a medical certificate so I could at least get paid for that day. I was told that I could not get one unless I’d been seen by a doctor.
This was delivered in a voice that totally lacked empathy or care. When I asked if I could make a complaint the staff member rolled her eyes at me and replied that I could, again in a voice that made it clear that she really did not care. I figured with that attitude there was no point in making a complaint as it would not be taken seriously so I made to leave. I said that obviously the complaint would not be taken seriously and would probably be thrown in the bin. The staff member then asked if she could make a complaint about me. I was stunned by her unprofessional behaviour. I had not been rude, not sworn and not raised my voice at her. I had raised a legitimate complaint and she was treating me like crap. I walked out and drove home.
I later rang the Queanbeyan hospital about the issue and was put through to the emergency department head who explained the delay as the department being busy. I stated that there had only been 8 people in there the whole time I waited. He insisted there had been ambulances as well. I pointed out that I had not heard or seen a single ambulance. It turned out that there had been 12 people through the emefrgency department list over the time I was there, but at least 3 were not seen by a doctor in that time. That’s right, the Queanbeyan Hospital emergency department could not handle 12 people in over 2 hours.
I ended up driving over to Canberra hospital where the walk in clinic refused to see me due to my blood sugar levels. The emergency department there was far busier that Queanbeyan and refused to even give me a rough guess on the wait time so I left.
My frustration with the standard of medical care in this region grows and grows. Wait times of over 2 hours in emergency departments that can’t treat just 12 patients in that time is not acceptable. Being told that there are 4 patients ahead of you when there simply are not 4 patients in the waiting room of a walk in clinic and you have been there longer than all of them is a joke as well.
At the end of it I am still feeling sick, am down 2 days pay, fuel money and a taxi fare. I don’t imagine I will be able to go into work tomorrow, and I don’t imagine I’ll be getting much pay either which means I really can’t to pay for a doctor either as my bank account is already empty. While I do feel for the medical staff, these wait times are third world.