Saturday, February 26, 2005

Montegriffo criticises "unacceptable" delays in waiting list for specialist

Gibraltar Health Authority hitch

GSLP/Libs has accused the Gibraltar Government of failing to take appropriate action to prevent the passing on of many of the problems that affected the old hospital to the new St Bernard’s complex at Europort.

In a statement issued yesterday Opposition spokeswoman for Health Mari Montegriffo drew attention to the “totally unacceptable” case of an elderly person who was told she would have to wait between 12 and 18 months before seeing a specialist. Ms Montegriffo said:

We have been approached by the relatives of an elderly patient, who wish us to make the case public. Their mother was admitted to hospital on December 23 last, as she could hardly walk. After a series of tests, the family were informed that her problem would have to be seen to by an Orthopaedic Specialist. However, she was discharged and subsequently had to go to the Primary Care Centre, to be referred to such a Specialist.

A GP then wrote a letter of referral to the Gibraltar Health Authority and recently the patient received a card by post from the Hospital Outpatients Department confirming that the referral letter from her GP at the Primary Care Centre to see the Orthopaedic Surgeon had been received. It goes on to say that the waiting time is “between 12 and 18 months”, and therefore she would be receiving “an appointment nearer to the date of her appointment.

We have been constantly asking the Government in the House of Assembly to provide us with the waiting list both for out-patients and in-patients. The lists, especially in Orthopaedics have been extremely high. In the last meeting in December 2004, we were informed that for out-patients there are two weeks for cases requiring attention soon, and seven months for routine cases. Clearly the list has not only increased, but during all of these past years, the Government has not taken heed of our warnings, and have done nothing to reverse the situation. That the Government should be telling us that they intend to employ more medical practitioners is not good enough. What we need is less promises and quicker action.

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