Woman waits over 12 Months for Colonoscopy in Australia

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 2nd, 2012

Week in Review

Health care in Australia is a hybrid of public and private service providers.  It is mostly a public universal health care system with a private system layered on top for those who wish to pay for it.  The federal government subsidizes private insurance to encourage some to use it and leave the federal system.  For Australia, like most developed nations, has an aging population.  Thus a growing rate of people leaving the workforce and becoming high consumers of health care services while there are fewer people entering the workforce to pay for this large rise in health care consumption results in a doctor and nurse shortage.  Which leads to, of course, longer waiting times (see Still on hospital waiting list by Richard Bruinsma posted 9/3/2012 on the Sunshine Coast Daily).

A MAROOCHYDORE woman who requires a simple exploratory colonoscopy every five years has “celebrated” 12 months on the Nambour General Hospital waiting list.

The woman, who did not want to be named, has a family history of bowel cancer and requires the regular check-ups as a precaution…

“Five years ago, I got in within three months, so I couldn’t believe a whole year has passed since I’ve been referred by my doctor…”

“If I’m waiting for 12 months for a simple colonoscopy, then what’s the rest of the health system like?”

A Nambour hospital spokesman was restricted from speaking specifically about the woman’s case but said the opening of new procedural suites at the hospital in April meant patient through-put had increased…

“All referrals to the service are reviewed and categorised according to clinical urgency and need by a medical officer. Those deemed more urgent are given priority.

“The Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service is working hard to assess and treat all patients on the waiting list.”

Most Australians are satisfied with their health care.  It’s one of the better universal health care systems.  Thanks to the hybrid structure of it.  And a relatively small population.  Though as baby boomers are retiring and leaving the workforce it is making an impact on their health care services.  As time goes on the Australians may love their health care system.  But they may complain about it more.  Such as in the UK.  And Canada.  Even in the United States.  Which before Obamacare they didn’t complain about the same kind of things.  The rationing of services.  And longer waiting times.  But that will come.  Because it’s happened in the UK, Canada and Australia.  And they’ve been practicing universal care for a long time.

Australia’s population is less than 10% of the United States’ population.  And it’s about a third of the UK’s.  So they don’t need a very large health care system by comparison.  But as Obamacare takes off the bureaucracy running it will be enormous.  As will the costs.  The bill itself had over 2,000 pages of new rules, regulations, fees and fines.  A lot of which were fill-in-the-blanks.  Things left noted ‘as to be determined’ by some government bureaucrat.  Meaning they will be making a lot of it up as they go.

So while the UK, Canada and Australia have universal systems with some problems with rationing and waiting times the Americans will see under Obamacare an explosion in rationing and waiting times simply because they will have so many more patients in their system than the British, the Canadians or the Australians.  Resulting in their own doctor and nurse shortage.  And if they are having problems after doing universal health care for such a long time you know some newcomer to the game will have even more problems.  Especially considering the US will have about five times the number of patients the British have.  And about thirteen and a half times the number of patients the Australians have.

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