"How can initial referral paperwork regularly go missing in the public hospital system?"

About: Flinders Medical Centre / Emergency Department

(as a service user),

Flinders Medical Centre Emergency Department Experience.

After having an ultrasound for a suspected Inguinal Hernia at The Repat recently, I was told to go my local doctor no later than the next evening, as The Repat Doctor, the Radiology Technician and Senior Radiology Technician believed the matter to be extremely urgent as the bowel was protruding and hanging inside the right scrotum.

I went to my local doctor who wrote out a referral to Flinders Medical Centre Hernia Clinic. They stated that if I didn’t get a reply within 2 weeks I was to ring the Flinders Medical Centre and follow up the progress of the paperwork as they had a tendency to lose the original referral. I have been told by 2 people I know who work for medical practices that this is a common problem.

How can initial referral paperwork regularly go missing in the public hospital system?

Surely there are written Systems procedures and work instructions to cover the orderly enrolling of a patient into the clinic system or is it a deliberate ploy to keep the numbers lower than what they actually are? I also believe there are waiting lists before you actually get on the main list to see a doctor to make the figures look better than they actually are.

I was also told to go to Accident and Emergency at Flinders Medical Centre if I started to get pain in this area. The evening after my ultrasound severe pain started to occur in the problem area so I lay down and the pain started to ease. The next night the pain had increased so my daughter, who was a nurse, insisted I go to the accident and emergency department the next day.

The next day at Accident and Emergency with my daughter, all seemed good. They immediately took me into a bay. They did blood and urine tests. I had thought they were actually trying to diagnose my problem and come up with a solution for my condition. But it soon turned out that all they were doing was proving I didn’t have a strangled bowel or an infection and that the bowel would push back into place. Once the results came back with no infection or inflammation they said they were not going to help me. They did not check the bowel in the scrotum while I was standing. They didn’t even offer an internal referral to their clinic to speed up the process, just a letter to my local doctor. They would not call the Registrar down for evaluation. Their only interest was whether I had private health insurance. They kept asking me about it. To add insult to injury they then stated that the waiting list to get into a clinic would likely be up to 18 months away. So to have my bowel hanging in my scrotum for 18 months with severe pain by the end of the day and a high potential of infection and strangulation is not a good prospect. I left that Accident and Emergency Department in great distress and very angry at the lack of care and attention received. What quality of life will I now have for the next 18 months? My daughter was there during the whole process.

If I can help it I never go to Accident and Emergency and have not been there in many years.

Also I have paid the Medicare Levy all my working life since its inception in 1975 and rarely used it. I believe I’m entitled to better treatment than received. It is not a free service I have paid for it over many years.

I believe compassion was completely missing.

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