Orthopaedic patients at Angliss Hospital in Ferntree Gully, Victoria are the immediate victims in the latest decision to close orthopaedic surgery and not renew the contracts of two experienced orthopaedic surgeons at the hospital Dr Greg Hoy Victorian Chairman of the Australian Society of Orthopaedic Surgeons said in Melbourne today.

“Children with orthopaedic problems have been particularly disadvantaged. The two experienced orthopaedic surgeons who have been let go by the hospitals decision treated a substantial caseload of paediatric cases as well as all other aspects of accident and emergency orthopaedic work,” said Dr Hoy.

“What we are seeing is a series of feeble excuses to close what is considered to be a loss making activity in a public hospital. Everything is now being judged according to economic criteria not pain, suffering and inconvenience criteria.”

“This decision has been made despite the fact that orthopaedic waiting lists are estimated to be 146 patients per orthopaedic surgeon in the Victorian Public Hospital System.”

“The decision to close orthopaedic services at Angliss leaves many orthopaedic patients in limbo. They will have to be transferred to other hospitals which already have huge waiting lists.”

Mr Stephen Milgate National Co-ordinator of the Australian Society of Orthopaedic Surgeons said “The once great Victorian public hospital system is now an endangered species. First the services go, then the hospital goes. It is a case of gradually closing down the system.”

“There has been no explanation as to what happens in the emergency room of Angliss Hospital when orthopaedics surgeons are no longer available. What do these people do? The answer is they endure more pain and delay while they are passed around the hospital system.”

“At Angliss Hospital a perfectly good service is being dismantled and two very experienced orthopaedic surgeons are no longer required.”

“It’s time for the Victorian Health Minister to step in and stop this denial of care to ordinary Australians who rely on the public hospital with no alternative,” said Mr Milgate.