Wanniassa Medical Centre closure – we are being steamrolled

letsallcareabouthealthcare 5 August 2008 43

My husband, children and myself have been seeing a doctor at the WMC for the past 10 years on the repeated advice that the best family health care is found by building a solid relationship with one trusted GP. If all Australia GPs were polled today (including those contracted to factories such as the Phillip Health care clinic) I doubt highly that consensus would differ from this opinion.

This issue has me very very concerned for health services in the ACT.

I too rang Primary Care this morning and asked to speak to someone to discuss the closure. I was told that there was no one there to speak to me and to put my “complaint” in writing. At that stage I had mentioned that I wished to discuss, not complain about, the issues.  As though they know that we have lots to complain about but simply don’t care.

If Primary Care did care enough to take the call of one of their potentially new “customers”, I would have liked to ask them:

  • How do they currently measure the performance of its contracted doctors at the Phillip Centre? Will the ex-WMC doctors be gauged by these same performance measures at any time within the next 2 years?
  • Are GPs at Phillip who engage in regular >5 minute consultations and/or do not maintain their quota of XRay and test referrals considered to be performing below Primary Care prescribed KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)?
  • What is the first available appointment for Dr X (previously from from the Wanniassa Medical Centre)  that I can make and can they guarantee that I will see THAT doctor within 3 hours of my scheduled appointment?
  • When was the last time that Primary Care polled its current Phillip patients to see how well the Centre is performing in the eyes of its current customers? If not in the last 12 months, how important are the views of Primary Care customers considered?
  • How many of the WCM doctors believe that the move to Phillip is largely a positive one for their respective patients’ health care?
  • What percentage of patient non-transfer rate from WMC have Primary Care deemed acceptable? i.e. have they calculated that the move is financially sound if up to 10%/20%/30% (or more) patients refuse to follow their doctors to Phillip?

I will pose these questions to Primary Care now in writing and will post their responses here when (and if) I receive a response.

Don’t hold your breath.


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43 Responses to Wanniassa Medical Centre closure – we are being steamrolled
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georgesgenitals georgesgenitals 4:40 pm 27 Dec 09

I just went and used the Philip Medical Centre for the first time (for a sick family member), and I have to say I thought the service was fantastic. We were in and out in 20 mins (on a Sunday afternoon 2 days after Christmas!), andthe pharmacy stocked the medication we needed to get.

On the basis of this experience, I’d have to give it the thumbs up.

geewasthatyou geewasthatyou 8:57 pm 08 Aug 08

i read that there was over 2000 names to the petition. that was a good effort but not loud enough. lets hope PHC keep the appointments going nd not have another few thousand patients crowding ontothe waiting line

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 5:15 pm 07 Aug 08

can ‘you’ also be a gay black midget amputee who can’t speak English, lives in a plastic bubble and is allergic to UV light?

Mmmmm… what’s your phone number…?

deezagood deezagood 4:56 pm 07 Aug 08

I couldn’t agree more VYBerlina (#32); what exactly are our priorities? Surely accessable and affordable healthcare should be right up there on the list. In Melbourne we had our choice of local clinics, many of them bulk-billed (especially for kids), and we could always find a same-day appointment somewhere if need be. I took us ages to find a regular doctor in Tuggers as most of the clinics had closed their books to new patients. We just couldn’t believe that doctors were so hard to come by here. The WMC situation is unfortunate but the bigger issue is the overall lack of doctors in the ACT. Surely the government could be actively luring doctors here using some of the tactics/incentives employed by other states (country area bonuses etc…). Perhaps one good thing that might come from the WMC closure is putting the issue of doctor shortages on the radar – just in time for the next election.

jakez jakez 3:30 pm 07 Aug 08

I apologise, I misinterpreted your comments.

If what you say is true, speaking in the long term, the Federal Government’s handling of tertiary education medical spots has been quite the failure. It’s like ‘The Road to Serfdom’ but in a medical microcosm.

sepi sepi 3:17 pm 07 Aug 08

I didn’t say anything about ‘stay with a dr for life’??

I meant that if your dr moves on, Canberra drs are so thin on the ground that you cna’t actually get in with a new dr.

It also applies to people who move across town – most stick with their old dr, cos they cant’ get in anywhere closer to where they live.

Not to mention the oldies who need a new dr to qualify for nursing home entry, yet no drs want to take them on as they are hard work.

tom-tom tom-tom 3:14 pm 07 Aug 08

wmc; i have a relative with a long term illness whose gp is one of those at waniassa. changing doctors is simply not an option.

this movement will turn what is currently a 2hr effort to see the doc (which she can in a worst case scenario do by herself) into a half day minimum (which she cant)

its easy to say its a 5k difference and tivialise it that way; but its not just that, the move means a further loss of independence. this is a big issue.

buisnesses have the right to make money etc and i’m very supportive of that but its not as if this centre wasn’t succesful already and to be honest i’d like to think that if you’re in the medical care buisness that maybe the bottom lines not the most important thing.

tom-tom tom-tom 3:14 pm 07 Aug 08

wmc; i have a relative with a long term illness whose gp is one of those at waniassa. changing doctors is simply not an option.

this movement will turn what is currently a 2hr effort to see the doc (which she can in a worst case scenario do by herself) into a half day minimum (which she cant)

its easy to say its a 5k difference and tivialise it that way; but its not just that, the move means a further loss of independence. this is a big issue.

buisnesses have the right to make money etc and i’m very supportive of that but its not as if this centre wasn’t succesful already and to be honest i’d like to think that if you’re in the medical care buisness that maybe the bottom lines not the most important thing.

the thing i really hate about this is tha

jakez jakez 3:06 pm 07 Aug 08

Hang on Sepi, I think viewing the inability to ‘stay with a Doctor for life’ as a fundamental problem of our health system in the ACT is pulling the wool over one’s eyes. We’ve got bigger problems.

I agree with the rest however.

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 3:02 pm 07 Aug 08

how would you get to Phillip if you yourself used a cane and did not drive, and your partner was on unwieldy oxygen tanks, and you couldn’t afford a taxi?

Yes, let’s generalise about a situation using extreme criteria that only apply to a tiny minority of people. Next time, can ‘you’ also be a gay black midget amputee who can’t speak English, lives in a plastic bubble and is allergic to UV light?

sepi sepi 2:03 pm 07 Aug 08

It’s not an issue cos it’s not affecting everyone yet.

It is affecting those new to Canberra, or those whose dr moves on. It is also affecting a fair proportion of people who try to go to Casualty and find the wait is all night. and a fair proportion of people who are booked in for elective surgery that constantly gets put off. Or people who have a bad experience during a hospital stay.

But until things are so bad that if starts affecting almost everyone, nothing will get fixed. And by then the system will be so under-resourced that fixing it will be almost impossible.

I just don’t have a good feeling at all about health services in the ACT. Today there was another bad news story in the paper – John James is closing their Cancer radiation unit.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 1:55 pm 07 Aug 08

I can’t believe that top quality medical care doesn’t seem to be that much of an issue for us! I think we should be taking the $$ that would otherwise be spent on things like GDE artwork and the IEV-X memorial and using it to employ more doctors and providing higher levels of medical service. Although I’m known to have strong views on people paying for their own way, medical care is something everyone should receive as part of the privilege of living in a wealthy country.

jakez jakez 1:50 pm 07 Aug 08

sepi said :

I propose that the Fed Govt legislates all of Canberra as an area of need 9which it clearly is – having less GPs per head of population than the entire nation). this means GPs get more incentives (and money per patient) to work here, and we might get some more of them.

I also propose that Katy G focus on this, instead of on opening sleep clinics that noone wants etc.

I propose that Govt mandates a certain number of parking spaces per business – as Victorian govt does.

I’m not after a dr next door, but equality of access to a gp with the rest of the country would be nice.

That’s fair enough mate.

sepi sepi 1:40 pm 07 Aug 08

I propose that the Fed Govt legislates all of Canberra as an area of need 9which it clearly is – having less GPs per head of population than the entire nation). this means GPs get more incentives (and money per patient) to work here, and we might get some more of them.

I also propose that Katy G focus on this, instead of on opening sleep clinics that noone wants etc.

I propose that Govt mandates a certain number of parking spaces per business – as Victorian govt does.

I’m not after a dr next door, but equality of access to a gp with the rest of the country would be nice.

jakez jakez 1:35 pm 07 Aug 08

I also favour the reduction/elimination of Government regulatory and financial burdens on businesses.

Beyond the lamentations, what do you propose?

jakez jakez 1:32 pm 07 Aug 08

I don’t know, it sounds like an extremely difficult circumstance. That does not change the nature of the argument. I never suggested that 5km doesn’t represent a problem for some people. I suggested that we live in an imperfect world where resources are scarce, and this argument is simplistic.

If you can put forward a model where a medical business can be viable and also be next door to every single person in the world, I would like to hear it.

Alternatively, perhaps you and I could look at some sort of charitable driving service, or joining an already running charitable driving service (I’m sure I’ve heard of them before).

Roma Roma 1:28 pm 07 Aug 08

I agree that the public transport issue is an important one to consider. Colbee Court isnt exactly easy to get to if you dont drive. Yes, you could catch a bus to Woden and then walk but a walk that long is hardly an option if you are sick as a dog.
Having said that, too bad if you need to go to the doctor and you live in Kambah without a car. The local Kambah village doctor wouldnt accept new patients and there are no buses to anywhere after about 10am! /rant

sepi sepi 1:15 pm 07 Aug 08

So jakez – using your empathy, how would you get to Phillip if you yourself used a cane and did not drive, and your partner was on unwieldy oxygen tanks, and you couldn’t afford a taxi?

peterh peterh 1:14 pm 07 Aug 08

jakez said :

Roma said :

I think the GP situation in Canberra is atrocious. The other day my partner woke up with a sore throat, swollen glands, fever, stiff neck and back and no voice. I started frantically calling doctors trying to get an appointment and was told by no less than 8 different medical receptionists that their centres were not accepting any new patients. After hearing this from the receptionist at Corrinna Chambers medical Practice I finally asked “Well, is there anywhere you can suggest I try, as no-one seems to be accepting new patients!!” and she suggested the clinic at Philip. Ok, so it was packed. At the time they had about 27 patients but they had 7 doctors on staff and my partner only had to wait about 1hr 20 minutes. Sure, the receptionist was a bit rude and dismissive but I cant imagine her job is a slice of paradise. Its a hell hole and breeding ground for infection and contaigion but its a godsend for those who havent planned their sickness in advance and booked their doc appointment a week ahead!

This then feeds into the emergency department problems at TCH.

as it was designed to be a place to go to rather than the ED.

jakez jakez 12:58 pm 07 Aug 08

Roma said :

I think the GP situation in Canberra is atrocious. The other day my partner woke up with a sore throat, swollen glands, fever, stiff neck and back and no voice. I started frantically calling doctors trying to get an appointment and was told by no less than 8 different medical receptionists that their centres were not accepting any new patients. After hearing this from the receptionist at Corrinna Chambers medical Practice I finally asked “Well, is there anywhere you can suggest I try, as no-one seems to be accepting new patients!!” and she suggested the clinic at Philip. Ok, so it was packed. At the time they had about 27 patients but they had 7 doctors on staff and my partner only had to wait about 1hr 20 minutes. Sure, the receptionist was a bit rude and dismissive but I cant imagine her job is a slice of paradise. Its a hell hole and breeding ground for infection and contaigion but its a godsend for those who havent planned their sickness in advance and booked their doc appointment a week ahead!

This then feeds into the emergency department problems at TCH.

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