Friday 29 July 2011

Treatment of a disabled Cairns boy shows Queensland Health in crisis

Queensland Party candidate for Cairns, Darren Hunt, has slammed Queensland Health’s treatment of a young Far North Queensland disabled boy, as an outcome of a health system "in crisis" that he says the State government continues to ignore.

"The treatment of this young boy is a national disgrace,''
Darren Hunt says. ''This child needed equipment associated with his catheter and colostomy bag for use three times a day. Items that needed to be replaced months ago have not.''

He says that the items have not been provided since March and his family have had to continue using the same equipment since then.

''That is disgraceful. It has put this child in grave risk of infection that could have had disastrous consequences," Hunt said.

The claims come after it was revealed that a young boy has been waiting on a chait access adapter with connection tube associated with his colostomy bag that is required to be changed every three months. The time elapsed means that this child’s equipment should have been changed three times. The family are also supposed to be supplied 60ml tip syringes to prevent infection as the child’s bowels have to be manually emptied three times per day.

“This child was leading an active life, was involved in sport and was able to get around with as much movement as his disability allowed,'' Darren Hunt said today. ''However now his health has deteriorated to such an extent he has to use a walking frame. The family have been trying and trying to get the items they need from the Cairns Base Hospital to no avail.”

“It was not until the child’s mother broke down in tears in front of a family friend, and the family friend began raising the issue that something was started to address the problem. The family friend contacted the office of Disability Minister and MP for Mulgrave, Curtis Pitt, to be told 'it’s not his area,' Hunt said.

''They did not even have the decency to take down the child’s details and follow up if the matter was resolved. The family then had to go through various other people in the health minister’s office until something was done.''

Darren Hunt says that the process has created a huge burden on the family as the boy’s mother is on a carer's pension and travelling to Cairns to pick up items that should be sent direct to him, or at least to the nearby hospital, is costing them a great deal of money along with the discomfort caused by the travel on the boy.

“To make things worse, when the department was told I had become involved and was going to highlight the issue in the local media, a Queensland Health representative contacted this child’s mother on Thursday this week to tell her the items were now at the hospital,'' Hunt says. ''The child’s mother informed them she had a friend at the hospital that would come and collect it straight away.''

However the items were not there when she arrived at Cairns Base Hospital and believed she was deliberately mislead.

“This is yet another example of how our most vulnerable in the community are getting neglected by a government with no focus,'' Darren Hunt says. ''This Labor government simply doesn’t give a stuff about Far North Queensland. Look at the obscene amount of money being spent to recover staff over-payments as a result of their $350m payroll system debacle, and you can see why patients can’t even be provided with basic medical items.''

Hunt says the Labor government should hang their head in shame.

''They owe this child a huge apology for allowing such a disgrace to occur. The Minister should jump in his tax payer funded vehicle and deliver these items to this child’s house personally, along with an apology for such a disgraceful situation occurring,” Darren Hunt said.

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