Skip to content Skip to main navigation


In the fight of your life
you need the best at your side

Medical wait times unacceptable.

By apstoo 30 October 2013 47

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.

What’s Your opinion?

Please login to post your comments, or connect with
47 Responses to
Medical wait times unacceptable.
Showing only Website comments
Newest to Oldest
Oldest to Newst
banco 5:55 pm 14 Feb 14

I expect your 3rd thread will be about how you are demanding a large amount of money from comcover.

JC 4:16 pm 14 Feb 14

grungodapungo said :

I remember when I was a little my dad called the Queanbeyan Hospital for an ambulance to come and get my brother because he was having a severe asthma attack, they told dad it wasn’t a taxi service so my dad had ran with my brother piggyback (we had no car and there were no bus-stops nearby so I’m not sure what Queanbeyan is like now) to the hospital and when he got there he waited a further five hours before anyone saw my brother. If they can do that to child, they can certainly do it to adults.

A couple of points, you don’t call a hospital for an ambulance you call 000 and whilst it is true they are not a taxi service if someone life is in danger, or more to the point the people who called think their life is in danger then they will come.

Secondly if your brother waited 5 hours to be seen, despite having a severe asthma attack then quite clearly the attack was not all that severe otherwise he would be dead.

Now your post highlights the biggest issue people have with the emergency department which is a massive disconnect between how urgent the hospital sees an issue is versus how urgent the patient thinks it is.

Of course the hospital has a triage system which is designed to sort this out, and whilst I have waited a lengthy period of time for something that was causing me grief and pain, I have seen the other side of the coin where someone goes, mentions a few words about their issue and 30 seconds later they are lying up in a bed.

So getting back to your brother if he presented to emergency I am 100% sure he would have been seen by a triage nurse straight away and then prioritised accordingly.

PS now amount of money or staff can or should ever fix this.

NoImRight 3:56 pm 14 Feb 14

What a tedious thread youve decided to revive.

grungodapungo 3:08 pm 14 Feb 14

I remember when I was a little my dad called the Queanbeyan Hospital for an ambulance to come and get my brother because he was having a severe asthma attack, they told dad it wasn’t a taxi service so my dad had ran with my brother piggyback (we had no car and there were no bus-stops nearby so I’m not sure what Queanbeyan is like now) to the hospital and when he got there he waited a further five hours before anyone saw my brother. If they can do that to child, they can certainly do it to adults.

pink little birdie 10:07 am 31 Oct 13

Go to the super GP clinics in Either Phillip or Belconnen.
If you get there early the wait is less and in my experince you tend to get bumped up the list if you are actually sick.
Still go prepared for a wait of several hours. They do bulk bill by default.

(Though my impression is most drs will bulk bill if you ask) Most dr’s will bulk bill for case management, particularly in the early stages when you have lots of appointments close together. Anymore than 3 appointments with the same practice will bulk bill.

On going issues mean that you can get a health management plan – it means that your GP gets extra funding from medicare to treat you, they will bulk bill you and you get not quite a health care card but discounted prescriptions.

ScienceRules 7:34 am 31 Oct 13

rigseismic67 said :

I …. There is a quick backdoor method to get in straight away, simply call an ambulance and tell them you are not dying but need assistance to get to the hospital due to……….whatever reason.
I found this out as I was away for work and my wife could not lift my dad into her car, so she rang an ambulance and explained the circumstances. They simply sent around an ambulance within 20 minutes and he went straight to a bed in Emergency, thus circumventing the triage nurse system.
If you are a pensioner the trip is free but if not the bill would have been $855, what a crazy system!! I might need to invest in ambulance cover and forget the GP lineup in the future.
However, jokes aside, it is a sad system indeed that favours such innappropriate behaviour.

No, no, no! This is terrible advice and also completely wrong.

Calling an ambulance does NOT circumvent the triage system and does not get you seen more quickly. Your dad got a bed simply to get him off the ambulance stretcher. That’s all. He didn’t get seen any quicker at all.

What you are saying is that it’s ok to take an ambulance off the road (and remember there are only 10 for all of Canberra) for an hour and a half so you can “jump the queue”. You’re quite happy to deny emergency treatment to someone else as long as you’re not inconvenienced. That is beyond selfish and you should be ashamed.

Henry82 2:38 am 31 Oct 13

apstoo said :

For those people who have never had anxiety, it is really hard to handle some situations

And you should work on that (stand back and assess the situation from a 3rd person POV, if necessary write down on a sheet of paper pros and cons of each option). I would have brought a book to read, or some work, something to pass the time. You left the line twice, making the situation worse for yourself.

apstoo said :

The thing is, in this country, no one should have to wait 3 hours to see a doctor.

You’re a low priority in terms of triage – Pretty much everyone comes before you. It’s not a single queue like at a bank. If your condition changes while waiting, you can let them know, it doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily push you up the queue.

My [non medical] advice, call during work and organise the first appointment of the day at a GP (a quick google suggests many places open at 8am – preferably one with a pathology lab). Go there and commit.

Finally, it sounds like you have diabetes. I’d be reading up on that and having extremely healthy meals until you can see a doctor. Not a diet, just cutting back on crap until you can resolve your health issues.

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Copyright © 2018 Region Group Pty Ltd. All rights reserved. | | |

Search across the site