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EYE-BALL Opinion’s “YUCK” Files – Medical Appointment (Doctors) Wait Times –

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– 28th Oct – ABC’s “Insiders” – Barry Cassidy


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Title:
– “YUCK FILES” –
– Medical Appointment (Doctors) Wait Times –
| Author: EYE-BALL Opinion “YUCK” Files | 12 Dec 2012 |
Ihave a few pet hates – none more than the wasted time spent in a Doctor’s surgery waiting for my alloted ‘time-stamped’ appointment.   I bet there is no one out there who does not agree with this waste of time.

In my life time I have seen 50 odd doctors including, GP’s, specialists, radiologists, dietitians, optometrists, podiatry, and the like.

I have moved around a lot which is the reason for the high doctor count – there are other reasons as well and we’ll talk about that later.  The common thread in al these different medical appointments was the wait-time delay in seeing the doctor relative to the appointment time made.

I would always be early – a creature of habit, some 10-15 minutes and done so as to not keep the Doctor or staff waiting.  I dare say everybody does this as a measure of respect for Doctors and the regard we all have for a Doctor’s time.   But I ask – what of the value of the waiting patient and their time?

There are countless articles written about lost productivity caused by ‘strikes’, ‘sick days’, and other personal type days.   Nobody counts the cost attached to the millions of patients spending their wasted hours sitting waiting for Doctors to see them.   To give a rough calculation of the stats –

  • assume 150 patients per Doctor – that estimates some 150,000 GP Doctors practising in Australia,
  • assume a working day of 9 hours – i.e. 8:30am – 5:30pm with an hour off for lunch and an appointment schedule of say 5 appointments an hour – that equates to some [150,000 * 8hrs * 5 appointments * days in a year, [Mon-Sat] * 52 weeks a year = 1,872,000,000 doctors appointments a year [1.872 billion] – that is just GP’s mind you.   The other point being that with a population of 22,000,000, that means we all see a doctor 85 times a year – this is obviously a little askew … but remember elderly people will see a doctor 2-3 times a week when they develop health issues.
  • now assume that each one of those appointments had a wasted wait time of 30 minutes = 1,872,000,000/2 = hours wasted = 39,000,000 days of lost production.
  • Assume a working day means $200 in gross revenue, the total cost of wait times in a Doctors surgery converts to some $7,800,000,000 i.e. $7.8 billion a year.
  • Now do the same sums for all the other specialists, radiologists, dietitians, optometrists, podiatry, and all the other medical professionals … and the picture looms large as to what the cost of Doctor wait times mean to the economy.

[The above numbers are very rough – extremely rough with an error factor of roughly 20-25% either way]

The pendulum has swung too far – Doctors bulk bill for a reason – it is mass production – 4-6 patients an hour and when a consultation becomes lengthy because it requires good Doctoring, i.e. blood pressure, temperature, weight, other measurements, prescription printing, and then the doctor patient discussion – how can they fit all that into say a 12 minute appointment.

No – Doctors are playing the game – out with patient interface and small talk. The concern of a Doctors time overrun is all the responsibility of the next patients waiting – they have to make the sacrifice, they have to do the deal with employers for time off, to have relatives wait with you, babysitters engaged, all the spin-off wasted time multiply’s the above number.

A Personal Experience:

Yesterday mid-morning I discovered what might be a serious health issue – blood in the urine.  When I spoke to the surgery nurse she though it urgent enough  to make a 12:30pm appointment the same day.  I arrived at 12:20pm and took a seat.

The Doctor saw 5 more patients after I arrived before my queue appointment became next in line – a full hour after I had arrived.  The Doctor confirmed the urine blood and sent me for urgent X-rays – another wait time experience because of the walk up appointment.

The Doctor told me during the consult he would ring me in the afternoon to confirm the X-rays results and his suspicions – i.e. kidney stones.  I waited for the call for the rest of the afternoon – it never came and I decided to ring the surgery at 6:10pm.  The Doctor had left and the receptionist told me there appeared to be no results received from the X-ray radiology place.

The Doctor had told me to see this particular radiologists facility because he had an electronic hookup to give him fast results on-line.  the receptionist searched to see if any results had been received – have no idea how she did that – look for a fax, check the Doctor’s physical in-box – she stated she found nothing.

Now I had to wait until the morrow before I would get the results.

About 10:00pm that night I started to get some serious pain in my left abdominal side – I could not sleep so around 1:00am I took some serious pain killers … my urine showed I was still peeing blood.

Other causes were discussed during the consult – the worst being cancer but was at the low end of the risk profile.  I was the right age so it had to be considered.  The Doctor said the X-rays would confirm if the problem was kidney stones, and if not,  then more decisions would then be made for more tests.

To me – the phone call promised in the afternoon was important – am I to assume it is non-urgent, I would rather have the call to reassure me it is was non-urgent.

I finally got some sleep and awoke to the phone ringing – it was 9:30am and it was the Doctor’s surgery telling me that the Doctor wanted me to make another appointment.  I asked if he was going to ring me – the receptionist had no idea … and she told me she could not give the results over the phone.   I asked a few more questions about how serious it was but she gave me no indication other than the request from the Doctor to set up another appointment.

One might think the Doctor might have some understanding about patient concerns and act to allay any anxiety given the range of possibilities canvassed the day before – cancer being one.

I made the earliest appointment available – 9:50am the next day – so another day and night with pain and anxiety over what the problem might be.  Then there would be the expected wait time at the surgery to add to the already pissed off anxiety levels.

Personally – I think it is kidney stones and am confident that it ain’t the other …

Summary:

Doctors have a job to do and these days and primarily see their patients for what they represent – income.  Nothing wrong with that so long as they don’t abuse the trust the patient has to feel towards their doctor.  Consultation times alloted have come down – now up to 4-6 and hour depending on the mercenary attitude of the Doctor – the was 2-3 some 30 odd years ago.

The why is unknown – is it because there are fewer doctors to see to the extra needs of population growth, or is it a rorting of the medicare system and the bulk-bill ease of payment for Doctors?

Doctors are not concerned with the wasted time patients endure waiting their turn.   Can you imagine what would happen if Lawyers made clients wait 40 minutes or so for an appointment?  What about and service industry apart from medical – do you think they would still be in business if they forced clients/patients to wait 30-40 minutes.

No – this is a pet-hate and what I see as a blight of the Doctoring profession – I despise wasted time, especially if I am the one doing the waiting.

When one works out the gross income for a Doctor for a day – after GST – the Dr is direct credited with a min of $70 per consult – i.e. @ 5 patients an hour = $350 per hour = $2,800 per day = $14,000 gross a week (5 day week) = $672,000 per year (48 week year).

Some appointments may only take 3-5 minutes – the bulk-bill cost is the same … and this is where Doctors make up time for the overbookings elsewhere …

I intend writing to my local MP and the Minister [Plibersek] about a review on standardising consultation times – say 20 minutes, i.e. 3 an hour.

This would on the same above calculations bring a Doctors income down to $403,000 per annum.   Now cost that Doctor’s income reduction i.e. = 150,000 * $269,000 = $40.32 billion.

On the strength of this equation result alone – Government will look and judge the tax revenue collect on some $40+ billion in Doctors income, and equate that with a reduction in wasted wait-times where no real tax income will be earned, and it’s a no-brainer as to who will win out.

There would then be the community impost of needing more doctors to take up the additional appointments not available under current appointment times – it all has a flow on effect …

Just another case where the almighty $dollar rules and the practise of being a Doctor is further dehumanised…

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EYE-BALL Opinion’s “YUCK” Files – ABC’s “Insiders” – Barry Cassidy –

The-EYE-BALL-Opinion-YUCK File
Latest ‘EYE-BALL Opinion’s “YUCK Files”


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Title:
– “YUCK FILES” –
– ABC’s “Insiders” – Barry Cassidy –
| Author: EYE-BALL Opinion “YUCK” Files | 28th Oct 2012 |
The ABC’s “Insiders” chiseled faced presenter Barry Cassidy, is a senior political commentator.

As a part of his resume – Mr Cassidy served as Bob Hawke’s Press Secretary before embarking on a travelled career as an international journalist and holds a steadfast reputation built upon decades of serious journalist endeavours.

His Wikipedia profile outlines Mr Cassidy’s career further …

Barrie Cassidy (born 4 March 1950) is a veteran Australian political journalist.

Cassidy was born in Wangaratta and grew up in the Victorian town of Chiltern, attending Rutherglen High School. He had many brothers and an elder sister, and grew up with a love of football and sports. Starting his career as a cadet on the Albury Border Morning Mail in 1969,[1] he moved to the Shepparton News about a year later before being hired as a court reporter for the Melbourne Herald. Joining the ABC Network, he initially covered state politics. He moved to Canberra to become the ABC’s federal political correspondent for radio and television in 1979.

In 1986, Cassidy was approached by the then Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, to become his personal press secretary. He remained in the job — which he has described as “the most rewarding and interesting period of my life” — until Paul Keating took over the leadership in 1991 following a challenge.

Moving to Washington, Cassidy worked as a correspondent for The Australian (a News Corporation newspaper) before returning to Australia to host the Last Shout and Meet the Press programs on Network Ten. Cassidy returned to the ABC to replace Paul Lyneham as host on The 7.30 Report before he, his daughter and his wife (Heather Ewart) were sent to Brussels as European correspondents.

In 2010, Cassidy wrote The Party Thieves: the real story of the 2010 election (Melbourne University Press, October 2010, ISBN 978-0-522-85780-1), which one reviewer called “the standard text on precisely what happened in 2010.”

Cassidy currently hosts the Sunday morning political discussion show Insiders, the sports panel show Offsiders and was until recently hosting the morning show ABC News Breakfast. He stepped down from his role as host of Offsiders to write The Party Thieves. He has a keen interest in horseracing, and is a devout fan of Collingwood in the Australian Football League. Cassidy is also a keen jogger, running almost every day. Cassidy appeared as himself in the first episode of the 1998 Australia television series The Games.

Linked on-line here …

In recent times Cassidy’s unashamed reporting has become increasingly biased toward the Julia Gillard Government, and to the detriment in the quality of the ABC’s “Insiders” program.

It is no secret that Mr Cassidy is a ‘Labour’ man … and having spent the time with Bob Hawke as his private Press Secretary, his political persuasion is understood and to be admired in loyalty terms.   Bob Hawke was a Prime Minister all Australian’s can be proud of …

But his performance this morning [28th Oct 2012] as host of ‘Insiders’ was one that was a bridge too far in the biased ABC’s support for Julia Gillard …

His interview with Joe Hockey, Opposition Treasury spokesperson made himself look utterly unprofessional when he pursued questioning of Mr Hockey in relation to Hockey’s comments during the week  relating to the Government’s  mini-budget, but forgot the fundamental law of media interviews – Cassidy forgot to pay heed to Mr Hockey’s response answers …

Cassidy had a script of questions in front of him that was tasked with trying to make Hockey look stupid – in the end Cassidy forgot to take his que from Mr Hockey’s responses and adjust his questioning accordingly … it was the worst possible interview and showed how Cassidy has lost his objectivity, and no longer can be trusted as a journalist to present facts, and allow the audience to draw their own conclusions.

To view the ABC “Insiders” program in question on ‘Iview’ – click here[available for two weeks] – use this link to ‘Insiders’ webpage for more ‘Insiders’ program links …

Mr Cassidy is not alone in this biased presentation of facts – for some months now the quality of the guest commentators appearing on ‘Insiders’ has been questionable., or an odd-mix.  Print journalist’s generally make up the guests commentators, and as Gillard’s leadership becomes more questionable under scrutiny from a number of angels – so does the political porous bias of the ‘Insiders’ discussion groups.

This ‘biased’ reporting does not just extend to ‘Insiders’ and Barry Cassidy – News 24, and other ABC News broadcasts on ‘Channel 21’ continue to report only parts of political stories that slant a negative bias to the Opposition, and edit broadcasts to paint the Government in a favourable light.  It has become so obvious that I for one no longer trust the ABC and its News reporting.

The quality of all TV News and Current Affairs including commercial networks, and their political reporting has become a convoluted mix of hit and miss style reporting.

So much so that there are very few reporters and presenters the viewing and reading public can trust – I refer to ‘The Australian’s’ National Correspondent Hedley Thomas, and the ABC’s ‘7:30 Report’ presenter Leigh Sails, as two sources that I still hold as trustworthy.  ‘Q&A’s’ Tony Jones is another that does his best to be unbiased – yet he too is a ALP supporter and allows his allegiance to flow through at times.

The Opposition is wary of where they appear on TV – i.e. The Bolt Report is equally unfriendly to the Government and you rarely see Government representatives fronting on that program.

There is definitely a ‘them’ and ‘us’ developing within the editorial ranks of TV networks and that brings all media reporting into question.

When Journalists of the Barry Cassidy experience stoop to personal agenda’s, either because he wants to, or editors and producers have told him to, then democracy and the role of the Media is no longer serving the readership, viewers, or the Australian Nation as they were so charged with doing.

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Thankyou.


Have your say where it counts: – contact your Local Federal Representative via the links below and let them know how you feel about this, or any other topic that you feel strongly about – or you can just post a comment below and let off some steam.

Links to Australian Parliamentary Website – MP’s


The EYE-BALL Opinion …

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