Dr Dilip Kumar and CQHHS CEO Steve Williamson at the opening of the new Gladstone Hospital emergency department on August 5, 2020.
Dr Dilip Kumar and CQHHS CEO Steve Williamson at the opening of the new Gladstone Hospital emergency department on August 5, 2020.

Resident worried about private health options in Gladstone

THE OPENING of Gladstone Hospital’s $42 million Emergency Department is more important to CQHHS than caring for patients, says a Tannum Sands man.

Ian Findlater has been battling serious health issues for the past 20 years, and regularly saw Dr Rob Schrieber at the Mater Hospital through his private health insurance, which he pays more than $1000 a year for.

Without the Mater private health options in Gladstone, he said he would have to travel to Rockhampton, Bundaberg or Maroochydore to see specialists.

Two days before the opening of the new emergency department, he said he was told by surgeon Dr Rob Schrieber’s assistant, the Mater and its staff were told they had two weeks to vacate the premises.

“My involvement with the Mater has been over the past 20 years when I have been in and out of day surgeries,” he said.

“I have had UCI’s, orthopaedic surgery, ongoing colonoscopies and things of that nature.

“I had a fungus in my cheeks that has to be operated on very quickly and Dr David McIntosh happily done that, which was very well organised through the Mater last year.

“I’ve had bowel and stomach bleeds where Dr Schrieber has quickly organised for me to come in through Dr Diefenbach, my local doctor.”

Gladstone’s Mater Hospital premises will be vacated by staff by the end of this week.
Gladstone’s Mater Hospital premises will be vacated by staff by the end of this week.

With the Mater premises due to be vacated by the end of this week, Mr Findlater said he was told to get another referral to Gladstone Hospital.

“They said you’ll have to get another letterhead to the Gladstone District Hospital, but I don’t know if they can help you there,” he said.

“A phone call this morning ended up by saying, Dr McIntosh is no longer coming here (Gladstone), its all over red rover, can you get down to Maroochydore to see him?

“So I spoke to the Rockhampton ENT specialist Dr Evan Matthew’s secretary within an hour, this morning, and she said we aren’t taking any more bookings.

“She said you can go back to see your doctor who will write you a referral for here but you’ll be on the bottom of the waiting list.”

Tannum Sands Man Ian Findlater and his wife Vip. Mr Findlater says he has been left in the lurch due to the closure of the Mater Hospital, Gladstone.
Tannum Sands Man Ian Findlater and his wife Vip. Mr Findlater says he has been left in the lurch due to the closure of the Mater Hospital, Gladstone.

Mr Findlater said the local doctors had been fighting to try and keep the Mater Private Hospital open.

“Many of the local doctors have been fighting for years to keep the Mater open, but it’s just the way things are with Queensland health and their attitude about the health of Gladstone people at the moment,” he said.

“The health service is more concerned with the opening of the new emergency department than what is happening to patients.”

What Mr Findlater said he would like to see happen, which has in the past, is now only a memory.

“I was greeted in hospital by Dr Diefenbach and he would tell me what he was going to do, what medications were involved and he would arrange transportations down to surgeons,” Mr Findlater said.

“Life was so much easier then, it was just so much more simple.

“You could just talk to your doctor and he would take care of the rest of the things that were needed, and that’s just not happening now.”

A CQHHS spokeswoman said the service was currently negotiating with health professionals about treatment options for private patients.

“CQ Health is engaging with private medical service providers who currently provide

patient care from Gladstone Mater to determine their expectations and needs following the

closure of the private facility,” the spokeswoman said.

“Those discussions will contribute to a final service delivery model – what services can be

provided in a safe and sustainable manner.

“That model of care will determine future staffing requirements from the Gladstone Hospital campus.”



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