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Join the queue: hidden waiting lists for Melb outpatients remain

20 February, 2014

In 2010 the Victorian state government promised to release the figures surrounding the hidden waiting lists for outpatient services, but just last year they had still not delivered on their promise.

Every time a GP refers a patient to a medical specialist at a public hospital's outpatient clinic, they are placed on the same waiting lists that already hold tens of thousands of people waiting to see Melbourne medical specialists.

Australian Medical Association Victorian president, Dr Stephen Parnis has already expressed his disappointment on the inability of the government to release the list of patients waiting for his outpatient services.

"People who are waiting have issues needing prompt attention, such as stones in their gall bladder," said Dr Parnis.

"Gallstones need quick action to prevent infections from putting a patient's life at risk. The more the delays occur in that area, the more it impacts on the individual's health and adversely affects other parts of the hospital. People who are outpatients too long could end up in already overcrowded hospital emergency departments."*

Victorian father and founder of a search engine to find Melbourne medical specialists, ineedaspecialist.com.au, Darren Lemin says: "This is exactly why we created our search engine that links patients in need with qualified and respected medical specialists in Melbourne who don't have such ridiculous waiting lists. The problem is that a high amount of GPs are referring patients to just a small number of specialists, but realistically there are many more specialists available and the patient has a right to have access to health care sooner."

Darren was diagnosed with Acute Myloid Leukaemia 13 years ago. With a wife and 3 children all under the age of 8, it was one of the scariest times of his life. Darren was completely in the hands of the local GP who referred him to the best specialists in the field, and luckily for Darren he has been in remission ever since. But his health scare prompted a commitment from Darren and his family to spend the rest of their lives giving back to others.

Darren's wife Michelle has now been working in the health industry for 15 years, and each time family or friends have had health issues they turned to Michelle to see what she could do to help them, who she recommended they saw, and sometimes she could even link them with Melbourne medical specialists that had shorter waiting lists than their GP-recommended specialist.

This got Darren thinking, wouldn't it be great if everyone had access to this sort of information and contacts that are usually exclusive to people working in the health industry?

Darren launched the online search engine for medical specialists to provide patients with options that he knows he would've appreciated when he was battling cancer. Patients using the service have reduced waiting times for initial appointments from 3-6 months, to less than two weeks.

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