Theresa and her four children are tired of waiting on waiting lists.
Theresa and her four children are tired of waiting on waiting lists. Alistair Brightman

Family gives up on health system

A MARYBOROUGH family struggling to raise four children, three of whom need regular medical visits, has given up on the public health system for two of the youngsters.

“We’ve had to go to private practitioners for our five-year-old, Matthew, and will also take our three-year-old, John, next year when we can afford that cost too.

“We cannot afford medical insurance but because we are now going to the Mater in Brisbane to see the paediatrician we pay for our travel and accommodation.”

Theresa, mother of Jessica, 9, Natalie, 7, and Matthew and John, spoke out this week because she wants to convince politicians to do something urgently to ease the waiting lists.

“One boy has severe speech and language delay and the other boy has autism and worsening accompanying speech problems.

“My husband, Brett, and I have been growing more and more desperate and worried about getting our two sons into public paediatric and speech therapy appointments.

“We’ve been juggling the situation for two years and have finally decided to speak out in the hope the government will do something.

“We as parents are not alone in this crisis. We have spoken with other parents who are just as alarmed.

“Meanwhile their children and our children grow worse in their various medical conditions because they have to wait so long to get in to see someone.”

Often, she added, appointments were cancelled. She had referrals for all the children but it was always the same – waiting on the waiting lists.

Theresa asked for her family’s names to be changed to protect their daughter, Jessica, from publicity because of her severe chronic asthma and anxiety conditions.

“This is heart-breaking,” she said, fighting tears. “Our family is fracturing over it because Matthew and John are getting worse. I have been told the paediatric waiting list in this region is six to eight months and that the speech therapist waiting list is ‘massive’. I believe there may only be one therapist available. This is ridiculous.

“When we do manage to source a therapist it costs $60 for one session.”

Theresa says the hospital staff “are always wonderful”.

“We had to admit Jessica into hospital with an asthma attack in June and she spent five days in Hervey Bay Hospital. The staff were fantastic.”

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