I’m sure this topic has come up a number of times, so sorry if I’m posting something old news. Since moving to Canberra from Queensland five years ago, I have been constantly amazed at problems with the public health system here.
Having a chronic illness, I often have to see GP’s at a moments notice, or fly in and out of hospital for treatment. Yesterday whilst attending my local medical practice, I was told that my doctor would not be on until 11am, and asked to come back at 10:30 to register to see him. I arrived back at that time and was told that there were four people in front of me. I then watched eight people go in before me, then I had to go back to reception and ask how much longer it would be. (I should point out that, with my illness, a rising temperature, dehydration and nausea are danger signs, which is what I presented with at the time). The receptionist told me there was one person ahead of me, and I demanded to go to the treatment room. Anoother 40 minutes and I was seen, with the time taking around four hours from the moment I got there.
I understand it is a busy period with coughs and colds, that there aren’t enough doctors and the medical centre did their best. It just frustrates me that waiting times are so long when my only option was to join another long line of sick people at the hospital.
Another point – I have a friend who has both a husband, and a three year old son with a brain injury. Her son had to go to Sydney to have both brain and spinal surgery at the age of two, because there is no peadiatric neurosurgeon in Canberra. He has not learnt to swallow properly and needs help learning how to feed, and whislt there is a feeding clinic in TCH, it has no actual office and is horrendously difficult ot get into. He has rehibilitation through TherapyACT, but only occassionally, due to the fact the workers are overworked and only work part time. Why is this happening in the nation’s capital?
My final point is the juvenille mental health facilities in Canberra – totally appalling. Working in an area where I see children and young people with severe mental health issues, as well as ADHD, Drug and alcohol and homelessness, most of these kids end up in either an adult facility (depending on their age), juvenille dentention or a refuge, which are terribly overcrowded.
I am just interested in hearing other people’s views on the state of the territory in terms of health issues, as it is an area of which I am a strong advocate.