Friday 16 September 2011

Cairns Base Hospital doctors call for increase services

Cairns Base Hospital doctors call for cardiac services laboratory to be open three days instead of two

Damon Guppy
Friday, September 16, 2011
© The Cairns Post

Doctors are pushing for the city's cardiac laboratory to be open more days to take the strain off the growing patient waiting list.

The catheterization lab at Cairns Base Hospital, where procedures such as cardiac diagnostics, stenting and angiograms are performed, opens to the public on Tuesday and Thursday.

But the Cairns Physicians Group said the lab should permanently operate for three days a week to cut waiting times, which were anywhere between three and six months for patients needing elective angiograms.

The group’s spokesman Peter Boyd said the extra day would increase the quality of care.
"That (waiting list) becomes a problem – if you get chest pain and need an angiogram, you can’t wait that long," he said."And the reality is, the waiting list is going up."

Since the cath lab opened last year, specialists have performed 230 angioplasty – or stenting – procedures. Before then, patients were sent to Townsville, costing the city’s public health system up to $10,000 each time.

"It’s a service we should have had years ago," Dr Boyd said. "We were sending people to Townsville when we had the expertise here." Dr Boyd said the cath lab specialist was focusing so much on urgent cases that he could not treat patients needing elective procedures.

"He just can’t get the work done in two days," Dr Boyd said. "He’s too busy doing the urgent cases as they present." Dr Boyd said the cath lab was not receiving the money it should from the State Government.

"We provide these services but the funding hasn’t flowed," he said. In the longer-term, the group would lobby to have the lab open five days a week.

A Queensland Health spokeswoman said the decision to open the lab for longer was a matter for the hospital’s administration.

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