Grandmother calls for full-time paediatrician in Kingaroy
DIANE Ayers first attempted to get an appointment with a paediatrician for her grandson, Aiden, when he was two years old.
A year later she finally secured an appointment, but due to lost medical records Aiden was put back on the waiting list.
Mrs Ayers waited another three months for her grandson to be seen.
Desperate for an answer, she reached out to Nanango MP Deb Frecklington, before finally securing an appointment.
"It is disgusting you have to go to these lengths," Mrs Ayers said.
"I know everyone has trouble to get people to work in Kingaroy and the hospital does their best, I think they are brilliant up there, but something has to be done for regional Australia."
Mrs Ayers describes her grandson as "a beautiful boy with a beautiful heart" who has trouble expressing himself due to speech issues.
She said he lashed out at others or bit himself when he couldn't get his message across.
Mrs Ayers said her nephew was only diagnosed with Asperger's at 15 years of age, and she hopes earlier intervention is possible to help grandson Aiden's with his challenges.
"He is going to go to school school and I hope he doesn't get pushed through the education system without learning anything," she said.
Due to his behavioural issues, Aiden, who is almost four years old, has been excluded from two day care centres due to his violent behaviour.
Mrs Ayers said because of the inconsistency of paediatrician appointments, Aiden was always on his best behaviour in front of medical professionals and he was "not getting anywhere".
Urgent cases in the South Burnett are referred to Toowoomba Hospital Paediatric Service, while many South Burnett families travel to Dalby or the Sunshine Coast for appointments, but Mrs Ayers said it was too difficult for her to do on the age pension.
South Burnett families have access to a private, bulk-billed paediatric service in Nanango each month run by Dr Diplock, can be seen twice monthly by a visiting paediatrician, or access appointments via Skype.
However, Peta Clarkson, who is the centre director at Kingaroy's Goodstart Early Learning Child Care Centre, said the region needed a full-time paediatrician.
"We have children whose families we suggest should see a paediatrician at the age of three but then when they are at school age they still haven't seen one," Ms Clarkson said.
She said there was a consistent wait for families and it could be detrimental to children's growth and education as some were forced to wait up to a year to get a plan for their schooling needs.
Ms Clarkson, who is also part of the South Burnett Under 4s Reference Group, is behind a petition to secure a full-time paediatrician in Kingaroy.
The petition is available at childcare centres, other service providers and schools across the region and 229 people have signed it so far.
But Ms Clarkson said as 400 babies were born in Kingaroy each year, more signatures were required to make change.
"The doctors are doing the best they can but having someone full-time will alleviate their waiting lists," she said.