Hospital change puts more stress on family

FRUSTRATED: Dallas Hondow with his parents Sharmaine and Gary Hondow. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail
FRUSTRATED: Dallas Hondow with his parents Sharmaine and Gary Hondow. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail Mike Knott

A BUNDABERG family fears they will have to stop their seven-year-old son's medical treatment if the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital (LCCH) is not able to assist with timing of appointments.

Gary and Sharmaine Hondow said their plight had fallen on deaf ears and it had been a stressful past 16 months.

Mr Hondow said his son Dallas would normally see six to seven specialist doctors at the Royal Brisbane Children's Hospital about three times each year - these appointments grouped together were manageable for the family-of-six.

Dallas has a number of medical issues which include epilepsy, he is non verbal and confined to a wheel chair.

He said since the hospital system had moved to the LCCH 16 months ago Dallas has had 18 trips to Brisbane to see the different doctors.

"As a family we can't manage it anymore," Mr Hondow said.

"The hospital is not able to give us appointments in consecutive days and the reason why always varies.

"This was never an issue when we went to the royal."

The father-of-four said he didn't want to make a scene and had already had private meetings with a number of health organisations and ministers.

"I feel like I have been everywhere, I've spoken to the CEO of Lady Cilento, we went to Connect Care, and I've had sit down meetings with Anastasia Palszcsuk and the health minister Cameron Dick and no-one will help," he said.

Shadow Health Minister Mark McArdle spoke in parliament about the Hondow family's issue saying it was disappointing the situation had not been resolved.

"Gary and Sharmaine have told me about the amount of stress and effort it causes to travel to Brisbane for Dallas' appointments three times a year when they are scheduled days apart," Mr McArdle said.

"They have also told me that before 2015, when their appointments were at the Royal Children's Hospital at Herston, the hospital would organise for their appointments to be on the same, or consecutive, days.

"This co-ordinated approach greatly assisted the Hondows with the burden of their 2.30am trip from Bundaberg to Brisbane and the planning for babysitters for their other children.

"The question is - why can't the Hondows once again be assisted by the government to have simpler and co-ordinated appointments?"

Mr McArdle said the Hondows raised their plight directly with the premier and health minister at the Bundaberg community cabinet and asked for their assistance.

"It is disappointing that since then, nothing has been resolved - Premier Palaszczuk and Minister Dick have done nothing," he said.

"Regional Queensland needs the help of this government to get the appointments they need for children at the LCCH and other hospitals right across the south-east corner.

"It is time for Minister Dick to stand up and help regional Queenslanders and help Gary and Charmaine Hondow deal with the caring of their son, Dallas.

"Dallas deserves better; his parents deserve better; and regional Queensland deserves better from the Palaszczuk Labor Government."

The NewsMail contacted the Queensland Health Minister Cameron Dick's office who advised the LCCH were best to respond.

A LCCH spokesperson said it was aware of the family's situation and had been working on a solution.

"We are very conscious of the pressures on families when they have to travel to Lady Cilento Children's Hospital (LCCH) for treatment," they said.

"Senior Children's Health Queensland staff are aware of, and have been continually working on, solutions with this particular family.

They said LCCH prioritised the co-ordination of care for clinically complex patients through the Connected Care Program and made every effort to ensure that appointments are as close together as possible.

"LCCH is a highly specialised tertiary paediatric hospital that cares for the sickest children in Queensland," they said.

"These children often have to see many different health professionals.

"While we try to coordinate appointments, not all specialists are always available on the same day, at times that suit families. We also have to prioritise patients based on clinical urgency."

Mr Hondow said the problem was surely not isolated to his family alone and if they could assist when the system was handled by the Royal Brisbane Children's Hospital why couldn't it be the same with the LCCH.

Topics:  bundaberg health lady cilento children's hopsital mark mcardle royal brisbane children's hospital

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