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Trying to get to a doctor in Canberra, a joke without a punchline.

By AngryHenry - 17 August 2009 67

After booking a week ahead with my doctor for an appointment (I had some stiches that needed removing) I opted to go in early(prior to 9am) to ensure I was going to make it to work on time, only to end up waiting for two hours.

This certainly isn’t a first for me, in fact, whenever I have been off work ill I have found it increasingly more difficult to get a doctors apoointment within a week of calling. Alsoon numerous occaisions I have had to deal with narky receptionists who have either booked me in incorrectly or forgotten I have even checked in at the front desk, leaving me there to wait until I have spoken up.

To top this off I was never even informed my regular GP had moved when his practice in my suburb had closed down, leading me on a wild goose chase in order to find where he now worked from and having to argue black and blue that whilst I was new at that practice the GP in question I had been seeing for quite a few years.

I am over it! My dog gets better treatment at the vet!

If I was in prison I think I would be able to see a doctor within 24 hours.  As it stands I have to pay $70 for the privilege of waiting two hours to see my regular doctor (of which I can claim back $30 bucks).

Like I said before, I understand there are people with more problems than me in this regard BUT how is this fair or reasonable for law-abiding, tax paying, citizens?

I shudder to think of how people on lower incomes than mine deal with this situation, especially in an emergency.

What’s Your opinion?

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67 Responses to
Trying to get to a doctor in Canberra, a joke without a punchline.
DarkLadyWolfMother 7:52 am 18 Aug 09

“law-abiding, tax paying, citizens”
This cliché was brought to you by Angry of Mayfair.

I’ve been using Foundation Health Care (Waniassa) and I’ve seen the doctor on time in about 90% of cases. There are two that I like, and I’m usually lucky in getting an appointment within a few days – sometimes even the next day.

I can’t say I had this good experience prior to finding out about Foundation. I often got the feeling I should have called a week or so before I got sick, then camped out on the doorstep to actually see someone on time. Having said that, I often had the first appointment of the morning, and been the first one in, and still had to wait over half an hour.

Clown Killer 7:17 am 18 Aug 09

I’ve never had too much trouble getting to see my GP – maybe not on the day I call, but usually within a day and if I really want to see someone fastthey can usually get me in to see one of the other doctors. I’m not going to tell you where I go becuase I want it to stay that way.

As far as stitches go, unless you’re particularly squeamish, that’s a DIY job. No need to spend money getting the GP to do it.

Deadmandrinking 6:53 am 18 Aug 09

It is seriously screwed here. I can’t even find a local GP. Every place nearby I’ve rung has been full. In melbourne, I walked up the road when I had to see the doctor about something, simply walked into a GP’s office and was seen within 20 minutes, bulk-billed and all.

deezagood 6:27 am 18 Aug 09

Sorry – southside.

deezagood 6:27 am 18 Aug 09

Are you soutside Angry henry? I have found Foundation Healthcare at Wanniassa to be very organised, and maybe we’ve just been lucky, but have never waited there for more than 15 minutes. A few of the Docs even bulk-bill for kiddies.

arescarti42 9:06 pm 17 Aug 09

Wow, having to wait a week to get in to see the doctor sucks. Really, really sucks. I usually go to the Jerrabomberra Medical Centre. They can usually fit me in at short notice, and seem to run on time for appointments.

Calwell Resident 8:54 pm 17 Aug 09

Our 7 year old had a bad flu recently getting to temps of 40c. Our family doctor was also sick and it was impossible to get into any doctor at all. The answer from all was, not accepting new patients go to emergency. Finally after 4 hour waiting phillip medical centre saw him saying probably swine flu nothing can be done keep him cool. It is very poor.

vg 8:38 pm 17 Aug 09

If you are getting nothing but stitches removed all you need to see is the practice nurse if they have one

steveu 8:23 pm 17 Aug 09

I agree with you – I believe the dept of health (I guess) stuffed up the numbers and failed to take into account the increase in population etc. and the end result was not enough places were available with graduates walking out the door in time to replace the doctors leaving the industry. The result? probably another 5 years of doctor shortages around the country until the new doctors complete their qulaifications. I could be wrong of course but this is the way it was explained to me by a doctor.

sepi 8:16 pm 17 Aug 09

Yep. My doctor has moved halfway across town, and you have to ring days in advance to get an appointment, wait about 10 minutes on the phone to even get thru, wait about an hour when you get there, all for the privilege of paying 70.00 for 5 minutes with the dr.

And as they have merged with a few other practices the waiting hall now has about 30 sick people coughing on each other, instead of 6. It isn’t a good time to be sick in Canberra.

Tony 7:49 pm 17 Aug 09

I agree. The situation is getting beyond a joke.
When Im sick, I need a doctors certificate, and the only option for me is to wait in the Belco Medical Centre for 5 hours before I can see a Doc. When I call around no doctors are taking new patients.

I was in the US 18 months ago and made a booking at the local practice, as the clock ticked over I was called up (there was only 1 other person waiting for the whole time I was waiting – 15 minutes). They were very comprehensive, took blood pressure, blood samples, urine samples (tested on the spot in their onsite lab), temperature, weight, height. I was in the Doc office for 1 whole hour, they left nothing to chance. All for a stomach virus which passed in a day, and it cost me $150 including all the test (I paid in full as I did’nt have local health insurance, it was to be later claimed by my travel insurance). The last time I went to the doc in AU they never touched me, or even consider doing a basic blood pressure. No service at all from the AU doctors

I plan on heading back on a permanent basis i n6 months, and Im looking forward to the great service you get in the USA health system if I ever need it.

The Aus health system is decaying.

Jivrashia 7:40 pm 17 Aug 09

Hmmm… I had a different experience.

I went in to my usual medical practice to have my stitches remove as well, around 9am on a Tuesday, without an appointment since I was told it could be removed by any nurse who would be available on the day. Either I misunderstood or was misinformed, because they weren’t able to accommodate me at that time, but they put me into a timeslot around lunchtime the same day.

Come appointed time, I wasn’t expecting it but the doctor who operated on me came in and quickly checked that the stitches were ready to come out, albeit he appeared to be in a rush, no doubt under pressure from the queue of patients he needed to see before the day ended. I don’t think I waited (although I was there 5min earlier than my appointed time) and then was out of there in 20min.

Cost was $300 all up for the surgery ($170 after Medicare rebate) and no extra for taking the stitches out.

I don’t want to seem affiliated with the medical practice so I’m not going to refer it here, other than to say I live in the Inner North.

Maybe it was a fluke for me? I hope not…

ACTing like a Mama 7:39 pm 17 Aug 09

I too have been made to wait up to 1hr 45min for my my doctor and is usually booked 3-5 days out. Only last week I rung up for an appointment (I only needed a referal for a standard pregnancy u/sound which she should have given me at previous visit – an extra cost of $71 which I was not happy about but I digress…)and the receptionist advised me that there had just been a cancellation so if i could make it within the next 15 minutes she could see me (maybe it was the tears that made her so sympathetic???). Anyway I arrived within 10 minutes, and then proceeded to wait for 1 hour and 15 minutes – if they were so far behind why would they schedule an unimportant (for them I assume)visit? I also found out that my dr double books – why? She is always running behind.

There are some serious issues with our healthcare system – if only I had the answers!

MrPC 7:00 pm 17 Aug 09

I think a generational war is coming in this country.

Old folks just can’t resist a free 20 minute chat with the doctor every few days billed to medicare.

Old folks just can’t resist doing their banking between 12:15pm and 1:45pm, when the bank tellers are off to lunch, and when working people are desperately trying to get their occasional over the counter transaction over and done with during their extremely rare and valuable lunch break minutes.

Old folks are sitting on the real estate and won’t sell houses to needy young families and downsize unless they get a sale price so high that the young family will be up to their neck in debt for forty years.

Old folks got the chance at free university from the Whitlam years all the way through until the Hawke years. Nowadays you pay the earth, get lumbered with debt, and have to deal with the educational challenge of being in classes full of non-english speaking students that clearly cheated in their entrance exams.

Old folks got to put away no money for superannuation and have an expectation that they will get an age pension for life, while young folks have to pay heavy taxes to keep the aged with their pensions while simultaneously putting money into superannuation, leaving very little left over for expensive rents, expensive houses, expensive fuel, expensive education..

Need I go on?

Youth of the world, Unite!

seekay 6:04 pm 17 Aug 09

I love the way the Kingston Family Practice can keep you waiting for close to half an hour even when you are the first appointment of the day.

Their male receptionist comes across as someone who failed to make the cut for Big Brother because he was too thick. When my wife went to take two sick toddlers there last week he assured her that the doctor was running on time. There were two people waiting ahead when she arrived there less than 15 minutes later.

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