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Health Inquiry focuses on colonoscopy queues
Published Tuesday, January 15, 2013 12:47PM MST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 16, 2013 8:40AM MST
Testimony from health care workers continued at the Health Services Preferential Access Inquiry on Tuesday and focused on fast-tracking for colonoscopies.
A clerk from the Forzani and Macphail Colon Cancer Screening Centre at the Foothills Medical Centre testified in the morning.
Dave Beninger’s told the inquiry how difficult it is to get an appointment at the centre and that missing an appointment was not acceptable without a very good reason.
“I remember it was a patient I felt had been seen too quickly and yes I do remember because when I used to no show the colonoscopies and people didn’t give notice I actually, kind of, took it a little personal, I was like, you’re wasting a spot of someone else who would have attended and this is already a long wait and you’re giving us no notice and I kinda felt it was disrespectful,” said Beninger.
When the person didn’t show up, Beninger followed procedure and put the person’s name at the bottom of the list. The patient would then have to wait for a new appointment which could take several years.
When the patient showed up again a week later and received the procedure, Beninger questioned how the person seemed to be able to get an appointment on little to no notice and he talked to his manager.
The inquiry heard from several employees at the screening centre about how clients of the Helios Health and Wellness Clinic were regularly fast-tracked for the procedure.
Files of Helios clients were routinely put on top of the pile and according to one witness, the routine screening of Helios patients were intentionally reclassified as urgent so they could jump the queue.
Justice John Vertes questioned the witness who also testified that those clients who missed appointments were not moved to the back of the list.
"And that patient cancelled? Right. Because he was at the Calgary Stampede?" asked the Justie. "Yes," replied the witness. Justice Vertes then asked, "and then showed up an hour late on July 14 and the doctor went ahead with it?" The witness replied "yes."
The inquiry was ordered by the premier last February and could last several weeks.