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Health Bureaucracy Gone MadTue, 21 Dec 1999

Dr Greg Bruce, an Orthopaedic Surgeon currently serving in East Timor should be allowed to continue as an Honorary Surgeon at Mt Druitt and Blacktown public hospitals where he has worked for the past fifteen years for no payment.

Dr Bruce was told in two lines of a short letter that he would not be re-appointed as an Honorary Surgeon (Honories work without pay) because there were no Honorary positions being offered in future in the Mt Druitt and Blacktown area.

"The Minister for Health can and should intervene and insist that the Department reinstate Dr Bruce as an Honorary surgeon and allow him to look after his patients, many of whom have now had to be informed that they will need to find another doctor and will obviously have to wait even longer for their surgery," said Mr Stephen Milgate, National Co-ordinator of the Australian Society of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

"We have tried to resolve this matter with the most senior levels of the Department of Health who have listened intently but seem to be unable to restore Dr Bruce's Honorary position."

Approaches have also been made by Dr Bruce's local member for parliament, The Hon Richard Amery MP, to the Minister for Health in September however nothing has eventuated.

Dr Bruce was informed in writing as he left for East Timor that his Honorary service was not wanted. After fifteen years of voluntary medical service Dr Bruce was thanked by the Blacktown-Mt Druitt Health Service in the following way:

"On behalf of the staff of this organisation, I would like to thank you for your input into clinical services for the past several years and wish you well in the future."

"That's the thanks you get from the health bureaucracy for giving fifteen years of your life to patients in this area. No gold watch, no handshake, no cup of tea, just dismissed in two lines of a loosely worded letter signed by an assistant general manager," said Mr Milgate.

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