By Susan Evans, Goonellabah, Retail Manager
When I was growing up in a family of six in Brisbane during the 60’s and 70’s, we had two family doctors who made home visits over a period of 13 years and they came to know the family intimately. They were part of the family, they were trusted, respected and they were an emotional and physical support to my parents with their four young children. I always felt very comfortable with them because of the deep care they showed when treating us. One of the doctors passed away due to old age and the other one eventually retired and it was a difficult time to lose these two special men who had been a part of our lives since we were born.
New doctors came on board and as the population grew, the doctors became busier and the home visits stopped, except in the case of an emergency. General visits to the doctor were about half an hour and appointment times were now either before or after lunch and waiting times became longer as there was no set time for a consultation, if it needed to go over time, nobody minded, they would go and do a task somewhere and pop back later. There was still a strong connection and familiarity between patients and the doctors during this time.
Then came the introduction of Medicare and most Medical Practices bulk-billed their patients, so there was no expense for us financially in the beginning and consultations were still around the half hour mark if needed. Illness and disease was on the rise and then we saw the advent of large practices appearing with multiple doctors and consultations decreased to 15 minute time slots and if you needed longer, you had to book a double appointment. Then many practices stopped bulk billing if you were a new patient and the costs of service increased and have continued to do so to this day.
Doctors became monitored through the system for the number of tests they ordered, as it became a business with levels of corruption that I do not understand but can certainly feel. The connection with the doctors became limited and I always felt rushed with my appointments and the level of care did not feel the same anymore. Continue reading “Medicine Past, Present and Future”