The State Government has been asked to step in and address the major issue of medical imaging delays at Bairnsdale Regional Health Service and other country hospitals, by State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull.
Speaking in Parliament last week with the Health Minister in the Chamber, Mr Bull said “Minister, we need your help” before outlining examples of the horrendous delays being experienced.
“One patient had a seven-week wait for scan results required after his surgery, only to be told that due to the age of the results he had to go back for another scan, with no guarantee this would not happen again,” Mr Bull told Parliament.
“Another, a cancer patient, had an oncologist appointment 20 days after her scan to discuss the course of action for her treatment. However, when she turned up at the appointment, the oncologist had not received the scans, so the treatment plan could not proceed.
Can you imagine how that poor woman was feeling about that?
“Another gentleman travelled to Melbourne for a specialist appointment, but on arrival, 15 days after the scan was done, the specialist did not have the results, so the appointment could not take place, further delaying his treatment.
“This is frustrating GPs, impacting the health of patients and delaying critical treatments, and I know it is the same at other country health services,” he said.
“We know that the third-party provider IMED is suffering from staff shortages, but it is more of a problem in the country than the city and severely impacts the health outcomes of country people, and it could potentially cost lives.”
In her answer, Minister Thomas said, “I thank the Member for Gippsland East, who raised with me the concerns that his constituents are experiencing getting their imaging done in a timely way – particularly at Bairnsdale, but at other health services in the Gippsland region. It really points to the need for us to think perhaps a little differently about the way in which we can ensure that people in rural and regional Victoria are not disadvantaged by the tyranny of distance, which sometimes plays into the difficulties that we have in getting the right people at the right place in terms of the healthcare workforce”.
“I very much look forward to looking into that and trying to resolve that issue with you, so I thank you very much for that question.”
Mr Bull said he was pleased the Minister then followed him up for a personal discussion on the topic and is hopeful alternate options are being looked at, including one suggestion of partnering country hospitals with city hospitals for a quicker turnaround time.
“However, at the end of the day words only go so far, we need it fixed,” he said.
Caption: State Nationals MP, Tim Bull, has addressed the Health Minister in Parliament seeking to address major medical imaging delays at Bairnsdale Regional Health Service.
Monday, 12 February 2024