THE acting chair of Queanbeyan Hospital’s medical staff council has hit back at claims services have been “business as usual” during the ongoing pay stoush involving the hospital’s three senior surgical specialists.
Dr Anthony Stevenson, who has served as acting chair of the council since June last year, said any claims patient care had been unaffected during the dispute were “simply incorrect”.
And he claimed hospital administration was “flying by the seat of its pants” in its attempt to control the fallout after the three affected specialists refused to accept a significant pay cut to continue operations in Queanbeyan.
The three specialists, who between them have previously carried out a majority of the surgical procedures at Queanbeyan Hospital are currently without a contract.
Speaking to The Queanbeyan Age, Queanbeyan Hospital manager Kim Bradshaw declared operations at the hospital had been unaffected by the three specialists’ absence from regular operations.
reported last week that 31 patients had had their surgeries deferred at the hospital as a result of the dispute. But Mrs Bradshaw said a majority of those patients had already since been operated on by a different surgeon.
At least one other theatre list has also been deferred since then.
“All those patients deemed urgent or as a priority have been cared for, as have a majority of all of the affected patients,” Mrs Bradshaw said.
“We are rebooking our patients who are choosing to stay with us with alternative, competent, qualified surgeons. As a public hospital, all our patients are aware that they don’t get to choose their surgeon.
“I would say that we haven’t cancelled any services. No services have been changed or altered, it’s business as usual at Queanbeyan Hospital.”
Dr Stevenson however, adamantly refuted any suggestion that patient services had not suffered during the prolonged and at times acrimonious pay dispute.
Having been involved in the contract negotiations for the past several months, Dr Stevenson said seeing firsthand their impact on hospital services had compelled him to go public with his concerns.
“Surgical services are not running normally and any advice that they are operating as usual is simply incorrect,” Dr Stevenson said.
“Surgeries are being shunted from one day to another, [hospital administration] is flying by the seat of its pants and operating lists continue to be in limbo.
“Nurses are having to ring patients constantly to defer and rearrange surgeries so there is a lot of uncertainty there and the patients are the ones who are suffering.”
Dr Stevenson also said at least one patient who had their surgery delayed had expressed their “severe distress” in relation to the situation.