Opposition Press Releases


Bowel cancer waiting lists on ‘scraps of paper’ and ‘in doctors’ diaries’

Opposition Press Releases

Today at PAEC, the Department of Health and Human Services admitted that it does not maintain a central waiting list in Victoria for colonoscopies, which are key to diagnosing and preventing bowel cancer.

Instead “doctors’ diaries” and “scraps of paper” and some computer entries are used to keep track at hospitals.

If the Andrews Government was serious about reducing the number of Victorians who die from bowel cancer, they would have taken an interest in waiting lists years ago.

In fact, DHHS asked hospitals for their waiting list data last month – shortly after long wait times were exposed through FOI documents obtained by the Opposition.

In Australia, bowel cancer has a 5-year survival rate of 68% and is the second most lethal cancer killer for both men and women.

Comments attributable to Assistant Shadow Minister for Health, Margaret Fitzherbert:

“Six weeks after suddenly announcing a ‘blitz’ on colonoscopies, Daniel Andrews is still working out which urgent patients have been waiting too long.

“All over Victoria, diaries are being yanked opened and scraps of paper grabbed out of desk drawers – what a joke, in Daniel Andrews’ health system.

“When you are being treated for cancer, every wasted week matters. Daniel Andrews is wasting precious time with his lack of action on this important issue.

“While we rely on ‘scraps of paper’ and individual doctors’ diaries to manage urgent patients, it is unsurprising that too few bowel cancers are diagnosed early, and the survival rate is only 68%.”

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