Grim image in ACT health stats
Figures on the ACT’s public health system show some patients are waiting more than four years to see a specialist doctor.
Patients in ACT hospitals face the longest waits for emergency department treatment in the country, and new data shows specialist doctors are failing dramatically to meet their targets.
Figures tabled in the Legislative Assembly show some people wait more than four years for an outpatient clinic.
Average waiting times for patients requiring urgent care exceeds the clinical standard in almost every medical area.
For most specialties, patients wait over twice as long as recommended.
Canberra Health Services, which runs the ACT's public hospitals, is behind its targets for most categories of urgency and for most needs.
Australian Medical Association's ACT president-elect, Suzanne Davey, said the public system is clearly under critical strain.
“GPs are constantly fighting to get these people seen, but it seems that the hospital is a closed door,” Dr Davey said.
“People develop cancers on the waiting lists — they get too ill to be treated before their name comes up to be seen in the public system.”
Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said agreed that the stats are worrying. He advised GPs to contact hospital staff if necessary.
“It is always concerning when we hear those reports from GPs and from patients themselves, and so we encourage GPs to really connect with the hospital and have a conversation with their patients if they're seeing their condition worsening,” she said.