One of Queensland's newest hospitals is facing criticism for sending patients home with undiagnosed broken bones on weekends.
South west residents have started lodging complaints about the care received at the new Roma Hospital, which received a $116 million upgrade in January 2021.
Queensland Country Life was told a number of patients have complained directly to the hospital board and Queensland Health after elective surgeries were denied on a Friday and weekend x-rays were unavailable.
Warwick Cooper fractured his leg four months ago when dismounting a quad bike at his Wallumbilla property.
Mr Cooper's friend, a practicing doctor, wrote a referral for an x-ray at the Roma Hospital, and sent the scans to an orthopaedic surgeon in Brisbane, with both agreeing there was a spiral fibula fracture present.
However, after waiting four hours, the treating clinician at the hospital examined the scans and insisted there was no fracture and sent Mr Cooper home with a tubular bandage and Panadol for pain relief.
On the suggestion of the orthopaedic surgeon, Mr Cooper returned to be seen again, where his leg was put into a back slab.
Local state MP Ann Leahy sent a complaint to Queensland Health on Mr Cooper's behalf.
The reply from Health Service chief executive Dr Anthony Brown said a review of Mr Cooper's medical care was conducted and it was "assessed as being appropriate for the presentation".
Queensland Health told QCL the hospital was appropriately staffed and equipped to manage emergency presentations on weekends.
It denied any claims medical imaging wasn't available after hours.
"Not all presentations require the attention of a doctor. Many patients can be effectively managed by a nurse," a statement said.
"Imaging procedures that are not considered urgent by the treating medical professional are scheduled on the next business day."
But Mr Cooper claims he has heard similar stories of people having to go to Brisbane or Toowoomba for treatment they should be able to access in a hospital as large as Roma.
"They've just built this $100 million hospital, and they can't staff it properly," he said.
"At the end of the day, I think there's too many bureaucrats running the system.
"It's basically a lot of cutting corners and cost cutting measures."
Mr Cooper's wife Sophie had a similar experience after breaking her thumb during an accident in the cattle yards.
She waited several hours on a Friday to see a doctor and get an x-ray, until she was sent home and told to return on Monday morning.
One Roma mother, who wished to be unnamed, took her six-year-old daughter to the hospital with a suspected broken elbow, and waited many hours before she was given two Panadol and a cuff and collar sling, and sent home without seeing a doctor.
"They said we're pretty much certain that it's broken, but we won't be able to x-ray it until tomorrow so we'll cast it then," she said.
The next day they waited seven hours without a doctor visit because they were "just too busy".
The mother took her daughter to a GP in Brisbane, who was amazed the child had been without a cast for four days.
Following a complaint to the hospital, she was told not putting a cast on a broken arm and elbow was "now common practice".
"We've got kids sport and adults sport on a Saturday and if we don't have an x-ray happening, then that is a concern and it's just terrible," she said.
"I couldn't fault the nursing staff, they were really quite caring and attentive, trying to do their best, yet it just seems like their hands are tied."
Member for Warrego Ann Leahy said the public health system needed to meet the needs of the local people.
"There is huge pressure being placed on the frontline doctors and nurses who keep the system running, and I thank them for their dedication," she said.
"Their job could be made easier if regional hospitals, like Roma, weren't being under resourced by the Palaszczuk government."
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