Retiree Ray Stone has denied being added to the surgery wait list due to COVID-19.
Retiree Ray Stone has denied being added to the surgery wait list due to COVID-19.

‘Breaks my heart’: MP slams surgery wait times

SURGERY wait times were in the sights of the state's opposition leader during her second day in Hervey Bay.

Standing with retiring Hervey Bay MP Ted Sorensen, who has been a vocal advocate for patients over his four terms, Ms Frecklington accused The Palaszczuk Labor Government of using COVID-19 to cover up a waiting list crisis.

Ms Frecklington introduced Torquay retiree Ray Stone who had been refused a place on the waiting list to see an orthopaedic surgeon due to the 'unprecedented impact' of COVID-19.


Ray Stone with Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington
Ray Stone with Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington

Mr Stone fell on a footpath in May injuring his right shoulder.

The 79-year-old, who is a carer for his ill wife, has been left in debilitating pain, unable to complete basic tasks around the house or write.

An emotional Mr Sorensen said he was hearing about stories like Ray's once a week.

"The list is getting longer and longer so people are waiting longer and longer," he said.

"It breaks my heart sometimes when I have confront people like this and try to get them on waiting lists and it happening all the time.

"It shouldn't be happening to our elderly in Hervey Bay, it is just wrong."

Speaking about Mr Stone's case, a Wide Bay Hospital and Health service (WBHHS) spokeswoman said because Mr Stone was classified as a Category 3 patient (appointment within 365 days), they were unable to accept the referral received for him on June 10 as per the nationally-set restrictions.

"This was communicated to him and his doctor at the time," the spokeswoman said

"From July 1, the temporary suspension of non-urgent procedures was lifted and WBHHS recommenced accepting and assessing Category 3 referrals that had been deferred.

"We have contacted both Mr Stone and his GP clinic to ensure his referral is re-sent to us, as is required of all local GP clinics, and to ensure that he can get the most appropriate and timely care," they said.

The spokesperson told the Chronicle that before the pandemic almost 100 per cent of patients seen within clinically recommended time frames.

"Up until the temporary suspension of these procedures and appointments, both WBHHS elective surgery and specialist outpatient times were outstanding," they said.

"Even with the disruptions caused by COVID-19, the vast majority of patients continue to be seen and treated on time, which is a huge achievement by our teams."