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No X-rays at the weekend

By dungfungus - 14 November 2011 3

The Walk-in Clinic at Canberra Hospital can no longer authorise X-Rays at weekends – they are only available to in-patients or through emergency.

But here’s the twist – one can go to CALMS (private after hours GP in the hospital), pay $80 and get the X-Ray done (at no cost) at the hospital medical imagery department.

The GP can’t access the hospital database to compare previous X-Rays but the walk-in clinic can.

I am sure the health care bureaucrats have some explanation for this but to me it seems to a way of cost cutting.

Anyone know what is going on?

What’s Your opinion?


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3 Responses to
No X-rays at the weekend
Anna Key 8:22 pm 14 Nov 11

I reckon you would be right. One also assumes that as the hospitals are the only place where you can get an x ray, it helps reduce demand that could see emergency patients delayed, even if only by a few minutes. Going through CALMS puts in place a disincentive.

Can a nurse practitioner interpret an x-ray or the radiologist report anyway? I think the nurse practitioners are fantastic and I know they have advanced training, but does it cover this?

dungfungus 5:07 pm 14 Nov 11

OverLord said :

Don’t quote me, but it may be related to workers comp / lack of doctors.

I was there a few weeks ago and was told that x-rays usually turn into a workers comp issue, and for it to be legal requires a doctor to go through the whole thing.

Because the clinic is primarily staffed by nurse practicioners, not doctors, to get an x-ray would have taken 6 hours or so. So maybe they are just bypassing the whole thing by not doing x-rays at all.

The clinic was arranging X-rays earlier in the yearr and they specifically said that they had been instructed not to arrange x-rays on weekends only. Nevertheless, you explanation sounds feasable but I am thinking it might be a way to stop the public getting free x-rays at the weekend when none of the private imaging places are open. As we all know, going to a GP costs about $75 and if an x-ray is required this could be an extra $150 for a limb. Add the problem of getting time off work, travel etc. The rebates from Medicare are pathetic so it would be a proposition for some people to suffer for a couple of days and then turn up to the Canberra Hospital walk-in clinic on the weekend and get a free x-ray, treatment etc. The $80 that has to be paid to CALMS if an x-ray referral is required provides a disincentive to abuse the public hospital facilities I suppose bit it is a bit unfair for people who suffer an injury (not WC related) on the weekend and are in pain. If one presents at the emegency department with a suspected fracture they are usually referred to the walk-in clinic anyhow. What is really needed is a merging of the walk-in clinic and CALMS at weekends, perhaps. I am sure most people would not mind paying a reasonable co-payment to get an enhanced service from the walk-in clinic (which is great but economically unviable the way it is set up) .

OverLord 4:12 pm 14 Nov 11

Don’t quote me, but it may be related to workers comp / lack of doctors.

I was there a few weeks ago and was told that x-rays usually turn into a workers comp issue, and for it to be legal requires a doctor to go through the whole thing.

Because the clinic is primarily staffed by nurse practicioners, not doctors, to get an x-ray would have taken 6 hours or so. So maybe they are just bypassing the whole thing by not doing x-rays at all.

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