The parliamentary inquiry into Health Outcomes and Access to Health and Hospital Services in Rural, Regional and Remote New South Wales has received several hundred submissions.
Some of those submissions reveal the startling gap in the standard of medical treatment provided in rural, regional and remote New South Wales compare to urban centers.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reported that 92 out of every 100,000 deaths in cities were avoidable compared to 248 deaths in remote areas.
Several submissions to the inquiry reported incidents of misdiagnosis, mistreatment and sub-standard treatment. The majority of these incidents have been linked to the state of rural, regional and remote hospitals in New South Wales, which are under-staff, under-resourced and under-funded.
The submissions note the reliance that several rural, regional and remote hospital have on videolink and telehealth consultations as there are no doctors physically on staff at the hospitals. As a result of the virtual medical attendances the submissions report incidents of untreated injuries, such as broken necks, and misdiagnosis, including an incident where appendicitis was misdiagnosed as gastroenteritis.
Several submissions also report that the significant under-staffing and lack of facilities has led to delay in diagnoses, with one man reporting a 15 month wait for a colonoscopy following an abnormal blood test. The man subsequently experienced rectal bleeding and presented to the Emergency Department where he underwent an urgent colonoscopy which reported bowel cancer. Other submissions noted that certain regional hospitals even went so far as to ask a patient’s relatives to bring their own bandages as they were so under-resourced.
Turner Freeman have acted for numerous clients who have had poor outcomes in rural and regional settings. We know from our experience that rural and regional patients are at a disadvantage because of the lack of resources and expertise to deal with specific medical complaints. This coupled with delays in transfer to bigger hospitals where further investigations can take place can have devastating consequences.
Get in touch with us
If you have or someone you know has had a poor outcome following medical treatment in rural or regional setting, it is important you get advice as to your legal options.
At Turner Freeman, we have specialist medical negligence lawyers who will assess your case and provide personalised advice regarding your legal entitlements. Our medical negligence lawyers are located across NSW including in our offices in Parramatta, Sydney, Wollongong, Newcastle and Toronto.
If you or someone you know has suffered as a result of medical negligence, we encourage you to call us on 13 43 63 to speak with one of our medical law experts.