Saturday, 7 February 2009

Fun & games with the ACT Health system

See, this is how it's supposed to work:

Monday – have willy willy accident
Tuesday – go to hospital, be x-rayed, get sorted with cast/crutches, be referred for CT scan and fracture clinic.
No weightbearing allowed.
Have CT scan - maybe as long as a whole week later (i.e., accident plus maybe 10 days)
Subsequent treatment dependent on result of CT.

Here's what happened in reality.
Monday – willy willy accident.
Tuesday – go to hospital, be x-rayed, sent home with “sprain” diagnosis.
2 hours later, call from doc in ER – “Oops, I was looking at the wrong part of the x-ray. There IS a fracture. Come back.”

Wednesday – back to hospital. Have a look at x-ray, and the fracture practically leaps out at me and my untrained eye. Get back-slab cast, crutches. Doc says “see your GP in a week.”

9 days later (Friday) get in to see GP. She doesn't know what to do, phones radiology and orthopod, hears “possible second fracture”, sends me home with order “no weightbearing. $68 please..."
GP phones several hours later. “I was supposed to refer you to fracture clinic. Will do that next Tuesday when I'm back in the office. Um, will you phone to remind me?”

Tuesday – I phone. “Oh, it's more complicated than I thought”, she says. "Will you come in on Thursday? I'm not in on Wednesdays.”

Thursday – back to GP. “Oh, now where was I up to?” she says “What do I do next?”
“Referral for CT scan,” I mumble, incredulous.
“Ah yes.” She phones fracture clinic. “This is Dr X” she says (I am seriously wondering by this stage if she really IS a doctor! Only the cream of students are accepted to study medicine, after all.) “I need to refer a patient. Um, how do I do that?”


She faxes fracture clinic referral to fracture clinic, gives me CT scan referral. I hop back to work, my new Schwarzenegger shoulders bulging. At least she had the decency to bulk-bill me for this totally unnecessary non-consultation. Another Medicare rort... No wonder the country's going down the toilet.

I phone CT bookings. “You have to fax the referral through to us”. WTF? So I do. Just as well I'm at work, where there's a fax machine, and not at home. “We'll phone you with a booking time,” she says.

Friday (accident plus 19 days) I phone CT bookings. “Nobody's called me yet”. Clearly, nobody was going to either – at least, not in a hurry. On the other end of the phone, the bookings clerk scrounges around looking for my referral. “Ah, yes, there it is.” They make a booking for me over the phone. First available appointment is next Friday (accident plus 26 days). I can't help myself.

“Wouldn't it have been more sensible if the ER doctor had organised all this in the first place?” (thinking to self that in theory I might've already been able to throw away the crutches by now if that had been the case – oh my bruised and aching hands/arms/shoulders!)

she says. “I wonder why they didn't?”

1 comment:

yeebok said...

OMG that's just so abysmal Betty! I'm appalled you have not had it all sorted yet. Not sure if you can name the Dr, but that service (and memory) is terrible. You should send a bill for having to call them - and don't accept bulk billing (or cheques!)