A MARYLAND man who spent more than 18 months on unofficial waiting lists for shoulder surgery has found himself back in the same situation after sustaining a second injury.
The Newcastle Herald first spoke to Jason Williams in 2010 after he had waited months for an appointment with a surgeon while in constant agony.
Mr Williams said he waited so long for his first surgery that much of his muscle deteriorated and the injury could not be properly repaired.
The Maryland man was injured again in late 2011 and has yet to see a surgeon, despite at least three referrals from his doctor, including one classed as urgent.
Mr Williams sustained a muscle tear in his right arm that has left his fingers numb and again in constant pain.
Following the latest referral, his case was transferred to Belmont Hospital, where staff told him in January there were people who had been waiting 350 days to see a surgeon.
‘‘I wish I had private health insurance, but I didn’t think the health system was this bad,’’ he said.
Mr Williams said he was prepared to wait for surgery but had not even been able to get in for an initial consultation.
‘‘I can’t really do much because I’m right-handed,’’ he said.
When in opposition, NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner described Mr Williams’s situation as a ‘‘waiting list for the waiting list’’, because of the one-year limit to official waiting lists.
The Newcastle Herald reported in October last year there were more than 16,000 people on the region’s outpatient waiting lists and many more on queues to join waiting lists.
Hunter New England Health said the Belmont Hospital referral was regarding Mr Williams’s first injury, which Mr Williams denies.
Following inquiries from the Newcastle Herald, acute networks operations director Todd McEwan said they had offered Mr Williams alternative options for his current injury, including seeing a surgeon as a private patient.
‘‘If surgery was required, [he] could be placed on the public hospital’s waiting list,’’ he said.