Lots of issues make us angry about the medical care system in Australia, and, following on our earlier post on the ovarian cancer issue we’re getting angrier and angrier about this one.
Two things are facts – if ovarian cancer is diagnosed in it’s early stages, the survival rate is 90%, AND, two thirds of ovarian cancer sufferers are diagnosed when it’s at an advanced stage!
So why are we so angry?
Sure it’s difficult to diagnose, but is anyone saying that someone who’s a specialist in diagnosing ovarian cancer, who’s doing it all day every day, isn’t 100 times more likely to get it right than most GPS, and in fact lots of specialists. And that such a person isn’t likely to get it right most of the time?
So why aren’t women who have ovarian cancer seeing these experts/specialists?
It’s because they’re fiddling around with GPs, when, especially when it comes to more difficult matters, most GPs wouldn’t know if their “__se” was on fire.
It’s the way the medical system is set up. Australia is cursed by the myth that GPs know everything and every body, which is perpetuated by the fact that specialists kowtow to them so they’ll send them work.
As reported in our previous post, it’s claimed that “almost half of women WITH ovarian cancer saw their GP with symptoms at least twice before being referred to a specialist, while one in five had to see their doctor three or more times!!!! when time was of the essence!!!!!!!
And we’ve go this Professor Tom Jobling, who must be a real dumbo saying, “But that doesn’t mean a GP that misses it, (i.e. doesn’t realise his or her patient needs to see a specialist,) has done a bad job!!!!!!” Of course they’ve done a bad job. Their may be good reasons for it, but they’ve done a “___thouse” job.
(And if you made a complaint to either AHPRA or the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission – “I HAD ovarian cancer, but when I saw GP XXX, he didn’t recognise that I needed to be referred to someone who knew something about it,” or, “I HAD ovarian cancer, but when I saw GP XXX, he referred me to specialist YYY who didn’t know what he was doing,” they’d laugh in your face.)
The simple fact is that not only women who MAY have ovarian cancer but those who ALREADY HAVE ovarian cancer, if they go to see a GP about it, probably have less than a one in six chance of ending up with someone who really knows what they are doing. There’s a 1 in 2 or 3 chance that the GP will recognize that you need to be referred to a specialist, and, where he or she recognises that you need to be referred to a specialist, there’s a 1 in 2 or 3 chance that they will refer you to someone who’s really competent.
The fact is that the amount of medical knowledge in the world has grown, (and it’s still growing rapidly,) to the point that any particular individual can only be proficient in a very small fraction of it.
This is great in the sense that if you see exactly the right person they are more likely to be helpful, to have better knowledge, than ever. But the downside is that the system under which GPs are always supposed to know exactly the right person increasingly doesn’t work – GPs can refer you to one of the worst specialists on the planet, as one of our readers claims happened to him recently.
And there’s not the slightest indication that a better system is on the way.