28 Jul 2010

Waiting times for neurology appointments now longer

11:20 am on 28 July 2010

A brain physician says the number of patients being referred to neurology specialists at Auckland hospital has doubled in the past three years and waiting times for appointments are lengthening.

Dr Barry Snow's comments come as the Government is being urged to step in and resolve a row over how neurology services in the the South Island should be run.

Dr Snow says it is unclear whether waiting list are expanding because there are not enough specialists, or because GPs are referring more patients because they are more aware of the consequences of disorders not being picked-up.

Dr Snow says patients may also be pushing harder to be given a specialist referral.

He says he is concerned some patients cannot get appointments within six months and are then sent back to their family doctors.

Dr Snow says patients are at risk of serious conditions being missed if the disruptions continue.