Woman's hospital wait goes from 90 to 365 days after change

AWAITING A HYSTERECTOMY: Tracey Baust is in a lot of pain and wondering about former Health Minister Lawrence Springborg’s promises on elective surgery.
AWAITING A HYSTERECTOMY: Tracey Baust is in a lot of pain and wondering about former Health Minister Lawrence Springborg’s promises on elective surgery. John Mccutcheon

AN AROONA woman will have to continue living in agony after Queensland Health's reclassification of the priority of her elective surgery.

QH had promised it would happen before February 24, but Tracey Baust, 49, has been told she could have to wait another year for the hysterectomy her GP said she should have had more than two years ago.

Her urgent need for surgery was identified when she was seen by a specialist at Nambour General Hospital on November 26 last year and put on the Category 2 waiting list, with a maximum 90-day wait.

Ms Baust said when she called the hospital last week: "I was advised I had been reclassified, without having even seen a doctor, to Category 3."

Under the old rules, this meant an 180-day wait time.

Days later, however, Ms Baust received a letter from Queensland Health advising this wait time had been changed and under new "national guidelines" and she could have a 365-day wait.

Ms Baust says she has been living in agony with endometriosis for more than two years.

She has been admitted to the Nambour Emergency Department four times in the nine months since being referred by her gynaecologist to see a specialist at Nambour.

She described her extreme pain as like "someone getting a massive machete, sticking it in your tummy and then pulling it out".

She has had to wear a sanitary pad for 18 months continuously as she never knows when she is going to have a discharge, her work day has had to be cut in half as she can't stand for long periods and her sex life is virtually non-existent.

The Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service's executive director of Medical Services, Dr Piotr Swierkowski, said "emergency and life-saving surgery remains our priority".

He could not discuss the specific details of Ms Baust's case, but said changes to her elective surgery emergency category were made "following a thorough review of her medical record by a specialist and a discussion with her GP".

Ms Baust cannot understand what has happened to former Health Minister Lawrence Springborg's much publicised promise of no wait for elective surgery.

"Is the plan simply to change the category people are in without looking at them?" she asked.

"I'm not even sure when the 360 days applies from - is it from the reclassification date or from the date I was seen by them?"

Ms Baust contacted the Queensland Health Ombudsman but said she was told he could not do anything for her.

Dr Swierkowski said although the recommended waiting time for a category 3 elective surgery was 365 days, "this was longest time she would be waiting for surgery and she may receive her surgery sooner".

Topics:  editors picks endometriosis lawrence springborg queensland health waiting list

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