24 June 2010

Playing with people's health to fiddle the numbers?

| johnboy
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The Liberal’s Jeremy Hanson is banging the drum on claims that ACT Health is fluffing it’s numbers be reclassifying people needing surgery:

While the Minister was yesterday boasting of sipping rosés in the South of France on her recent holiday, she was yesterday unable to address the very serious allegations of manipulation of surgery lists that have been made by a patient and a doctor, Shadow Minister for Health Jeremy Hanson said today.

Last week a patient and a doctor both alleged that urgent elective surgery patients were being downgraded by ACT Health.

At the moment Colonel Hanson is only calling for Katy Gallagher to look into the matter herself.

UPDATE: Mr. Hanson’s taking a second swing at this with more information coming to light:

During Question Time on Tuesday, this exchange occurred;

MR HANSON: Minister, would you consider it appropriate or in accordance with policy that ACT Health would be contacting doctors to ask that they downgrade their patients?

MS GALLAGHER: It would not be in accordance with the policy…

However, a letter tabled in the Assembly only a day later states:

“…If you accept this date, please re-categorise this patient as a 2a Staged Procedure and return by fax…” (ACT Health Letter to a doctor dated 13 October 2009)

“This letter confirms patients are being downgraded, not because their condition has improved, but because they cannot be operated on within 30 days. This practice has allowed Minister to boast that 95% of Urgent patients are operated on within the 30 days. This boast is utterly disingenuous and highlights the reality that Ms Gallagher can not be trusted with our elective surgery lists,” Jeremy Hanson said.

“When the letter emerged, the Minister suddenly changed her story and now claims that this practice is indeed policy and that she has no problems with it.

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*Update* … Well, looks like our hospital system works in very mysterious ways… My friend got a phone call yesterday afternoon and surgery was booked for today. I haven’t heard anything further as yet but looks like the operation went ahead without any problems….

The powers of RiotACT perhaps?

Fireretardantfoam10:17 am 25 Jun 10

I had to have surgery to remove a malignant tumor from my colon. I was told that the soonest they could get me in was in three weeks’ time. I rocked up to have the surgery, waited five and a half hours, then got told it wasn’t going ahead. They said that they would get me in for my surgery as soon as possible. That turned out to be in another three weeks. The reason? My surgery was considered ‘elective’. Funny, I don’t remember electing to have bowel cancer. Went to Qld, time between visiting surgeon and having the surgery – two days.

The Government needs to stop playing with peoples health.

I have a mate who has been waiting for almost 2 years to receive surgery. She cant work due to the pain she is constantly in, so clearly she cant afford it privately. Stupidly its classified as elective surgery which is why the wait is so long.

I know of a current case where urgent surgery has been delayed due to “technicalities” eg they can’t find a bed, a surgeon or its been in put in the “too hard basket” four times in two months. This fellow is in genuine pain (needs gall bladder removed) but has a heart complication making it a high risk (but still necessary) operation. The hospital is running out of excuses … but keep sending him back for more blood tests (same results each time) four MRIs (how much are they each pop?) and so many “specialist” appointments we’ve lost count, with each specialist saying the same thing … he needs surgery NOW!

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