False confidence in health system

MEMBER for Gladstone Liz Cunningham said the new health minister was setting up the public to have "a false confidence'' in the health system.

Last week Health Minister Stephen Robertson said no patient had waited too long for surgery at Gladstone Hospital in the last quarter, unlike some other states.

'...None of the 149 category one, two and three patients in Gladstone Hospital waited too long,' Mr Robertson said. Mrs Cunningham was disappointed with the statement.

'It's a false confidence to compare Gladstone to other states,' she said on Friday.

Resident Linda Benjamin said her mother, who is 90, is suffering great pain from a fistula and was haemorrhaging badly.

'The doctor at Gladstone Hospital said she urgently needs an operation and classified her as category one (one month on the waiting list) but in Rockhampton they put her down as category 2 (a wait of up to three months),' she said.

Mrs Cunningham expressed concern with the classification of patients into the different categories that determined their waiting time - something she said was a symptom of the condition of the health system.

'I think it (the categories) is a way to manage the waiting lists,' Mrs Cunningham said.

Gladstone Health Council member Matt Burnett said he was sceptical of the level of treatment of Gladstone residents by the health system in general.

'It'd be interesting to know how long, how many Gladstone residents had to wait for surgery outside of Gladstone,' Mr Burnett said.

He said the figures for Gladstone Hospital's waiting list could be attributed to the staff.

'When it comes to operations at Gladstone, that's fantastic,' Mr Burnett

'They do a bloody good job and work hard.'

Gladstone Hospital district manager Robyn Goffe wasn't surprised by the figures.

'We do try to keep within our times and we get regular reports,' Ms Goffe said.

'It's good to know we're doing well especially for routine surgery.'

Ms Goffe said Gladstone Hospital mainly performed routine surgery, which usually had a waiting time limit of about one year.

Routine surgery, or surgery that wasn't life threatening, at Gladstone Hospital had an average waiting time of 89 days.

Gladstone Hospital is equipped to deal with a variety of category one, two, three and emergency surgery but is restricted in performing some surgeries which require backup from specialists or an intensive care unit.

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