Economic influences force end to key Rocky medical service
ROCKHAMPTON residents and visitors are being left with no other choice but to call a house doctor or go to the city's public hospital should they need to see a doctor after hours.
An after-hours service run out of private hospitals, The Hillcrest and Mater Hospital, has been withdrawn.
"It is with regret that we must inform you of the closure of Capricornia After Hours Service at the Rockhampton Mater and Hillcrest hospitals," a statement on the Capricornia After Hours Service website says.
"This has been brought about purely by economic influences due to a drop off in patient numbers," the notice read.
"From the 1st of February 2018 all participating practices /GPs currently working with Capricornia After Hours Service will make their own arrangements for patient care in the after - hours period. Please check with your usual Medical Practice/GP for their new after - hours arrangements."
The decision has upset one long-time Rockhampton resident.
"I'm deeply concerned on the behalf of the community," said the woman, who did not want to be identified.
"It was only that I went to the doctor with my spider burn that I saw the notice."
The woman said the Hillcrest and Mater had always offered after hours and it was "a retrograde".
"I've been in medical insurance since 1957 and now I am being directed to the base," she said.
"The middle class and people with private health insurance, they don't mind to pay for the experience of a doctor, we deserve better."
The woman said people were told to only go to Rockhampton Hospital "unless it is a real emergency"."
"They have ads on tv saying don't come with a stuffed nose," she said.
The woman, aged in her 70s, said while she would call triple zero if she thought she was having a heart attack, she would like to have the option to use private doctors after hours for minor injuries.
"I live alone, if I cut myself or burn myself, I would like to be able to go somewhere," she said.