88 Bits and Pieces

It’s a fact that 99 out of every 100 NSW people who complain to the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission about a doctor are told they have nothing to complain about.

To me this is a slight on the people of NSW.

To me, it’s absolutely incredible that doctors with even a minimum amount of intelligence are not slightly uncomfortable with these figures. But no, to them it’s proof positive that thousands of the people who take the time and trouble to complain, (and, in my view there would be thousands of others who can’t be bothered,) are just wankers – just wankers making vexatious complaints.

Dr Anonymous, the Primary Health Care Limited doctor referred to in this post recently wrote to me, “The NSW HCCC has found your complaints to be without substance. That is you are making vexatious complaints.” That is, the HCCC knocked you back – therefore you had nothing to complain about, therefore you are a vexatious complainant. QED!

To me this is SO typical of the attitude of so many doctors and SO typical of the attitude of Primary doctors in particular, although Dr Bateman would no doubt wish to argue that Dr Anonymous is just the one “bad apple” in his barrel.

It’s to be hoped, of course, that Mike Baird, the new NSW Premier, when he, as it’s been reported, referred to the quality of our NSW doctors as “world-class,” wasn’t also dismissing the thousands of NSW people who complain about them each year as ratbags. We’ll soon see – by who he has as his Minister for Health.

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16 Primary Health Care Limited – the public company listed on the Australian stock exchange

In this post, I told how I had been emailed by someone who claimed to be a Primary GP who I am calling “Dr Anonymous” – “Dr Anonymous” because he said he didn’t want to give me his name in case I harassed him. To the Dr Anonymouses of this world me emailing them giving them the opportunity to tell their side of the story to my readers is harassing them.

This is one of the paragraphs in his email:-

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The Dr Anonymouses of this world love puffing out their chests and telling me “you are telling fibs” and “you are a cranky old fool” and “you are a coward” – it must make them feel good or something.

One of my main criticisms of Primary is that I believe they are just concentrating on making a science out of providing as little as possible to their patients all in the interest of making bigger profits – and this paragraph is just another example.

Do you know how much it would cost to have a website that listed the Primary doctors all over Australia that offered appointments? – much less than $2 a week, out of Dr Bateman’s alleged fortune of half a billion dollars! The software would be free, and I’m sure lots of the receptionists already in their employ would know how to operate the software, it’s so easy.

But no, patients are expected to ring up, and wait on for receptionists to tell them the doctors who offer appointments.

Dr Anonymous, I’m sick of ringing up Primary centres and asking them if any of their doctors offered appointments, only to be told, often rudely, that they didn’t – not that I rang too often, after a while I gave up.

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15 Primary Health Care Limited – the public company listed on the Australian stock exchange

WARNING! WARNING! WARNING!

If you go to a Primary medical centre on your own, you could be in great danger – you could end up in gaol. Is there no end to the evil of some of the Primary people? See what you think after you’ve read the following.

On 3 Jun 2008 I sent Dr Ed Bateman, Primary’s managing director, an email telling him what had happened to me when I saw a Dr Urs, one of his doctors and asking him, “is this conduct up to the standard you expect of doctors operating in your medical centres?” The conduct I mentioned was incredibly minor – I really just wanted to know whether he, as Primary’s managing director, had any interest in the standards of the doctors working in his centres. (Which it turned out, he wasn’t/isn’t.)

His response was nothing short of hysterical, raising questions, I would have thought, about his mental health. He sent me a sneering email back on the same day, telling me, in effect, to “p___ off” AND issuing an order that if ever I was to turn up at one of his medical centres again I was to be escorted off the premises with the police being called if necessary – real Hitler and Gestapo stuff I would have thought.

(To view my email to Dr Bateman, and his reply – use this link to take you to a page that has been up on my website for more than five and a half years.)

Not that he ever told me of his order – I think that even he would have realised that if he had set it out in writing to me he would have looked like an idiot.

I only learnt of this order more than three years later, in the following circumstances.

I had been working on what I saw was a problem with APHRA’S Registers of Practitioners that was very well illustrated by Dr Urs’s case – if you did a search on Dr “Urs” his name didn’t come up, so you would be forced to believe that he wasn’t registered to practice medicine. In their defence AHPRA had argued that they had had a certain conversation with Dr Urs, which seemed unlikely to me, and I just wanted to know from Dr Urs whether the alleged conversation had taken place. It was all about AHPRA – nothing about Dr Urs and nothing about Primary. If Dr Urs had had an email address, I could have asked him in a two or three line email – but Primary doctors don’t have email addresses – so I though I would call in and ask him, thinking it wouldn’t take more than 2 or 3 minutes, and not being aware of Dr Bateman’s Hitler-like order. I did this, on 25 Aug 2011, and I have set out in detail what happened when I did this in this post.

The bottom line was that I got a 25 Aug 2011 letter from Primary telling me I was banned again from visiting Primary centres, this time because of far far more serious matters – I had “verbally intimidated staff”, I had “displayed aggressive behaviour” and I had “caused fear on the part of others on the premises” – need I say that none of which was in any sense true!

But wait, there’s more! – and this is where it gets really serious, really scary!

On the 17 Apr 2014, (yesterday,) I got an email from someone purporting to be a Primary GP who was there on 25 Aug 2011, who I will call “Dr Anonymous,” (as he or she wouldn’t give me their name,) and, according to him or her, in the almost three years since then, matters had got much more serious – not only had I done the things set out in the 25 Aug 2011 letter, I had done things far far worse, not mentioned in that letter. I had “physically assaulted” the author of the email, I had also “punched” a female doctor “causing her bruising,” and, if anything could be worse, I had threatened that one day I “was going to bomb the medical centre.”

So here we have one of Primary’s GPs ready to say I’d done all these things, and I know from my years as lawyer myself that, under the rotten stinking health care systems in NSW, if there had been one other Primary person, doctor or otherwise, prepared to corroborate his or her claims, (because doctors are always right and patients are always wrong,) I could have easily gone to gaol for (1) threatening to bomb the medical centre, and (2) punching a female doctor causing her bruising, and (3) physically assaulting another doctor – when there wasn’t a scrap of truth in any of the allegations AND there wasn’t a damn thing I could have done about it.

Hence the claims in my introduction to this post – which you may have thought were a bit over the top.

There was some good news though – “we made the decision not to press charges as it was clear you were mentally disturbed.”

There are certain ironies in the above that I find almost amusing.

(1) Dr Anonymous clearly started out trying to convince me that Primary GPs were good guys after all, and ended up, by lying his or her head off, proving that he or she, at least, is scum.

(2) Dr Anonymous is naive enough to believe that my readers will believe him or her when they say I did all these “physical” things when there wasn’t even a hint that I had done anything physical in the 25 Aug letter.

(3) Against the background of Dr Bateman, their managing director, going “right off his brain,” when, in 2008,  I mentioned that one of his doctors might have fallen a bit short in a very minor matter, in contrast, when I, allegedly, in 2011, (1) threatened to bomb one of his medical centres, (2) punched one of his female doctors causing her bruising, and, (3) physically assaulted another of his doctors, decided to do nothing, even though, if we are to believe Dr Anonymous:-

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all of this would have eaten into Primary’s profits considerably, and, if there’s anything Dr Bateman hates like poison it’s anything that eats into profits.

AND, if anything, this is more amazing, (and inconsistent,) than anything – if we are to believe Dr Anonymous, not only has Dr Bateman decided not to do anything about all of the above, “I have spoken to Dr Bateman and he has lifted your ban in part!!!???”

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2 Dr Michelle Atkinson Orthopaedic Surgeon Dee Why Eastwood and Wahroonga

When I did my first post on Dr Atkinson on 24 Nov 2012, she had 3 ratings on the RateMDs website – now she has 11, averaging 7.4 out of 10, a “mixed bag” if ever there was a “mixed bag.”

In terms of these ratings, it may be that the best that can be said about her is that she may be a very good surgeon but has a very bad bedside manner – “the personality of a rattlesnake” according to one of my readers.

One thing of note is that she now seems to have an ordinary email address readily available – michatk4@tpg.com.au – see this link, which she didn’t have in November 2012, which I’ve tested and it seems to work.

Perhaps a good person to get a first or second or third opinion from, if she would give it to you in writing. I believe the proper approach in such circumstances would be to see her in person, and then send her an email along the lines of, “When I saw you today I understood you to be telling me blah blah blah blah. Have I got this right?” And of course, if  she didn’t respond to your email and/or if you found her bedside manner too much to take, give her a miss. And, of course, whatever happens report you experience on the RateMDs website or to this blog.

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10 Comments on Comments

One of my readers has sent me this comment on this post:-

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While I greatly appreciate the comment, it’s pretty straightforward stuff – under our rotten, (why do I keep wanting to add “stinking” to “rotten” – perhaps I will!) NSW health systems, the very doctors who you’d like to be able to get some compensation from because of how they’ve treated you are going to fight you tooth and nail, through the courts, if necessary, and the very first thing they are going to do is not provide you with copies of your health records, even though the law, (ha ha ha! ha ha ha!) says they should, or if they do, you find the records have been so “doctored” that they bear no resemblance to your recollection of what was said and done. And, of course, they know that no one is going to lift a finger if they don’t – least of all, Barry O’Farrell, Jillian Skinner, Mary Foley and Kieran Pehm.

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1 Dr Patrick Chew GP Provincial Medical Centre St Clair

Dr Chew has a rating on the RateMDs website in which he is described as rude and ignorant. A GP working in a medical centre without even a basic website and no email addresses who gets a rating like that – what could be worse?

But Dr Chew probably doesn’t care because, presumably, he’s getting his fair share of patients.

These may be harsh words, but it seems to me that those relying on doctors like this to help manage their health are being completely negligent – but obviously many people are.

Please! Please! Please! On anything at all serious, please find someone better – even if you have to travel a bit.

A 15 Apr 2014 update: This is a pattern that’s become so familiar to followers of this blog – (1) a terrible rating on a doctor appears on the RateMDs website, (2) I put up a post drawing attention to it, and, (3) the very next day, a second rating appears saying that he or she may be the very best doctor there’s ever been. This has happened with Dr Chew.

It’s almost as if there are people out there who, as soon a bad rating on a doctor appears anywhere, contact the doctor and ask him if he or she would like them to put up a great rating and they say, “Yes.”

If only he had an email address we could find out more about him!

I’ve just rung up his practice and asked my usual question – “Does Dr Chew have an email address for his patients?’ and been told “No!” I didn’t do this yesterday as I was confident he wouldn’t.

“One of the most dedicated doctors that I have come across,” says the new rating. A dedicated doctor” without an email address for his patients!!!??? You’re joking!

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27 The O’Farrell government and the NSW health systems

Why doesn’t this surprise me?

If we are to believe a rating on Dr Richard Lawson on the RateMDs.com website, the Practitioner Indemnity Insurance section of the Avant Insurance company won’t allow doctors insured with them to provide their patients with copies of their health records – in other words they stipulate that the doctors should break the law.

(Various names are used for the records doctors put together on patients, “clinical notes,” “medical notes” etc. but I’ll use the name used by the Act of Parliament in relation to them – “health records.”)

It mainly doesn’t surprise me, because when I did everything I could to get the Premier, Barry O’Farrell, the Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner, the Director General of NSW Health Mary Foley and the Health Care Complaints Commissioner, Kieran Pehm interested in the fact that I was being told that Primary Health Care Limited was taking patients’ health records to the rubbish tip, all the indications were that they couldn’t care less. Could there be any greater indication that the NSW health systems are rotten under the watch of these people?

And would Ramsay Health Care care that patients in their hospitals couldn’t get copies of their health records when things had gone wrong? Of course not.

Posted in The O'Farrell government and the NSW health system | 1 Comment

9 Comments on Comments

I’ve received this comment from one of my readers, in relation to the hand surgeon, Dr Anthony Beard – a “kpk”:-

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I’ve tried to explain my position many times, but I’ll have another go.

There are about 40,000 doctors in Sydney, and many of my readers and I are trying to find which ones out of these 40,000 are best to see and which ones are “waste of time” doctors, and are looking for any clues or indications which might help us – on the assumption, (which I would have thought was obvious – but perhaps not to “kpk,”) that we can’t try out all of the potentially suitable ones ourselves. And to me, easily the best clues or indications are what they have to say, and emails are easily the most efficient and effective way of finding out what they have to say. And, if they haven’t got an email address they are not even putting themselves in the mix.

It’s not my position that you can judge a doctor by whether they have an email address, but that you can judge a doctor by what he or she has to say on various matters, and emails are easily the most efficient way of finding out what they have to say.

With specialists, my practice now is to email them and ask them if the matters on which I need help are within their specialisations – and it’s worked very well. And, if I’d been doing it earlier, I believe it would have saved me a great deal of time, trouble and expense   – especially with a couple of ophthalmologists who I have written about extensively. (I was referred to them by an optometrist on the basis that his mother-in-law used them!!!??? – obviously he didn’t know how bad they were.)

I use a heart specialist who has an email address and answers emails. The last time I saw him in November 2013, he was so pleased with the results of his tests that he said I didn’t need to see him again for another year, although I could, of course, see him at any time if I was concerned about anything. Lately I have been concerned with certain developments and I know I can email him asking whether I am worrying unnecessarily, or whether I should go and see him again – and with a simple “Yes” or “No” email from him, my situation can be managed in the best way possible.

Often after a face to face consultation with a doctor you can be not quite sure what they said, and with an email along the lines of, “In my consultation with you today I understood you to say blah blah blah – have I got this right?” misunderstandings can be avoided.

And a big advantage is that emails from doctors can be easily circulated amongst our friends and relatives to help them see good doctors and avoid seeing “waste of time” doctors, and on blogs like this.

My postion is this – within the 40,000 doctors in Sydney there is a community of those who have ordinary email addresses and who answer emails, a community which is constantly growing on a daily basis. Of course, there are lots of doctors, who don’t have email addresses, perhaps lots of really good ones, but the advantages of dealing with members of this community are so great for us consumers of health care services that, all things being equal, we should always seek to deal with them first.

Incidentally, as an example of a doctor who’s a member of this community, you couldn’t get a better example than the psychiatrist Dr Mark Rowe – see this post.

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1 Dr Sarah Barrand GP of the Crestwood Family Practice Bella Vista

A GP with one 10 out of 10 rating, (albeit a vague general one,) on the RateMDs website, in an apparently well run practice with a website and an ordinary email address.

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87 Bits and Pieces

One of my readers has urged me to do a post on the difference between the Google ratings and the ratings on Facebook on the one hand and those on the RateMDs website on the other, and has pointed to the Google ratings on one doctor which are almost all great and those on the RateMDs website lots of which  are quite poor.

There does seem to be quite a difference.

What do you think?

I seem to recall one of my readers – I forget which one – telling me that she had great difficulty putting up a poor rating on one of the rating websites, and even after they’d put one up for her she kept getting emails urging her to take it down.

Perhaps bad ratings were bad for advertising revenue. This doesn’t seem to be the case with RateMDs. But I don’t really know.

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