Two year wait for colonoscopy

IF you were placed today on the Fraser Coast waiting list for a colonoscopy you most likely wouldn’t get to see the surgeon for more than a year.

Investigations by the Chronicle have revealed that more than 770 locals enduring bleeding from their bowels are on the horror public health colonoscopy waiting list.

The news came badly to Maryborough’s Chris Dorrian, 67, yesterday.

“I was referred for a colonoscopy in June and I haven’t heard a word since.

“Now I know why.”

Our investigations also revealed there is currently a scary two-year wait for “category five” endoscopy patients, a fact confirmed by Sunshine Coast-Wide Bay Health Service District northern cluster manager Beth Norton yesterday.

Endoscopy is a general term for a patient who probably needs both a gastroscopy and colonoscopy to determine the source of the bleeding.

“A category five patient is considered a semi-urgent admission for a condition causing some pain, dysfunction or disability but which is not likely to deteriorate quickly or become an emergency,” Ms Norton said.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Maryborough GP Dr Paul Cotton said yesterday.

“These waiting lists are not a true reflection of the real need in the community because many people faced with the uncertainty of access elect to scrape up the money and pay for private treatment.”

Mr Dorrian’s mother had bowel cancer so he admits he’s “a bit worried”.

“Maybe the people in power will start listening to Dr Cotton and the Chronicle and be bloody shamed into doing something.”

The colonoscopy list includes Maryborough’s Bob Turner, who after more than six months of waiting for his operation will be in surgery tomorrow, suddenly pulled up the list this week after the Chronicle published his plight.

“The government’s latest campaign in sending out faeces blood screening tests as an early opportunity to detect bowel cancer is a waste of time considering these unacceptable waiting lists,” Dr Cotton said.

“Last financial year, the region undertook 1266 endoscopies, which included colonoscopies and gastroscopies,” Ms Norton said.

“The Fraser Coast region is currently up-skilling two doctors to undertake additional endoscopies in the future.”

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