Dr Ewen McPhee.
Dr Ewen McPhee.

Emerald doctor slams QH cost-cutting bureaucrats

A STATEWIDE roll-out of Queensland Health’s controversial “two-strike” plan to save outpatient hospital costs would be a “dangerous imperative”, country doctors said.

Rural Doctors Association of Queensland president, Emerald’s Dr Ewen McPhee, said the plan smacked of being hatched by cost-cutting bureaucrats and had the potential to place people who needed proper and specialist care at risk.

He called on the state’s director-general of health, Dr Tony O’Connell, to release details of the trials Queensland Health relied on to develop the scheme which would see patients restricted to two hospital outpatient visits and then referred back to GPs in a bid to slash waiting lists and costs.

“There is tremendous waste and inefficiency in the system now,” Dr McPhee said.

“Not infrequently, people who need to be followed up travel to Brisbane to find their appointment cancelled or altered.

“Patients whose problems could be dealt with by local GPs are not advised that transmission of information is often inadequate to continued care and confusion reigns. Even if two visits was a realistic average figure across all outpatient clinics, you can’t set a limit any more than an accountant could run a shoe shop with just one “average” sized shoe.

“Medical care must be tailored to individual needs as only treating doctors can do.

“Get the accountants to put their red pens away and send the bureaucrats back to the drawing boards.”


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