Hospital axes foot surgeon

PATIENTS will either have to fork out for private treatment or travel to Brisbane for complex foot and ankle orthopaedic problems after the Bundaberg Hospital sacked visiting surgeon Michael Lutz.

Dr Lutz, who grew up in Bundaberg, spent half a day at the Bundaberg Hospital each month.

But despite having a full schedule, Dr Lutz was told late last week his services were no longer required at the Bundaberg Hospital.

Sunshine Coast — Wide Bay Health Service District CEO Kevin Hegarty said there had been absolutely no complaints or concerns about Dr Lutz's clinical care or performance.

“Queensland Health is not reducing the orthopaedic service, or any other specialty at Bundaberg Hospital,” he said.

“The Bundaberg Hospital now operates its orthopaedic service resourced by staff specialists and VMOs. Patients are not expected to have to travel outside of Bundaberg for the majority of orthopaedic surgery cases.”

Member for Burnett Rob Messenger said he would call for the sacking of Health Minister Paul Lucas over Dr Lutz's sacking.

“It's a heartless act which will ensure that Burnett and Bundaberg families have to travel to Brisbane for treatment,” he said.

“The only hope of an improvement and reform in the medical service delivery, the clinical staff of Queensland Health, Bundaberg Hospital and Burnett patients have is for the Premier to sack her deputy.”

AMAQ president Gino Pecoraro said it was unclear why Dr Lutz had been let go from his position at the hospital.

“We should be encouraging more visiting medical officers (VMOs) in to regional areas like Bundaberg,” he said.

“Our fear is that if they start doing things like that, doctors will not want to go work in the area.”

“The way to encourage people to do jobs like this is to treat the ones you have well.”

The NewsMail was unable to contact Dr Lutz.

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