Paediatric wait times in regional Western Australia have blown out to over a year in some cases due to an increased demand and a lack of staff, but parents say it is too long to wait for children in pain.
The WA Country Health Service said the wait time for a paediatric appointment in Albany was generally less than 12 months. Residents counter that is too long for children, who are often left to wait in pain. Parents are alarmed at how long these wait times are, and are forced to look for alternatives in other areas to speed up the process and hopefully help their children along.
In a bid to secure earlier appointments, some residents have consulted Perth-based paediatricians and have found that while there was still a longer-than-anticipated wait, it was significantly less than at Albany. Perth-based specialists have said that urgent appointments can be made by the end of December, and non-urgent cases scheduled at April the latest.
While some are grateful to be in a position where they can afford to travel for medical services, concern has been expressed about those who do not have the means to travel to get appointments.
In response to extended wait times, the WA Country Health Service Great Southern regional director Geraldine Ennis says the issues are being addressed.
“The WA Country Health Service increased services and employed two local consultant paediatricians on site, supported by two visiting paediatricians who are rostered once a month.
“This has seen a marked improvement in wait times, and a third consultant paediatrician is expected to join the team in 2022.”
“Families in the Great Southern should be assured that emergency care for their children is available 24/7 at WACHS hospitals and health services.”
Original content from ABC News. Note: Content has been edited for style and length.
Nina Alvarez is a Content Producer for Healthcare Channel. Her interests include writing, particularly about the healthcare sector and the many ways it can improve to further benefit people from all walks of life.