By NOEL MURPHY
FIREBRAND surgeon Paddy Dewan has lashed out at moves to bring Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) paediatricians to Geelong after Barwon Health failed to renew contracts for him and two others.
Professor Dewan, who practises privately in Geelong, said the move would aggravate RCH waiting lists in Melbourne.
He called it a “cynical attempt” to undermine him after clashing with Barwon Health over a medical case investigation.
Prof Dewan, a former chair of Royal Australasian College of Surgeons’ Victorian branch, said Geelong Hospital had been performing major surgery in many specialties for decades with a team of well-trained and qualified surgeons.
Prof Dewan, who set up international humanitarian medical body Kind Cuts for Kids, is standing as a candidate in Melbourne at the state election over his treatment and what he says are broader problems facing medical professionals.
The private sector was readily utilising his services in Geelong but Barwon Health had denied them to the public, he said.
“This is a political agenda rather than quality-of-care agenda.
“There’s already a very long list for pediatric surgery at the (RCH) and now some of the last resource is being sent unnecessarily to Geelong where it is already available.”
Prof Dewan said that when he worked at Geelong Hospital with reasonable access to the emergency theatre the hospital had no waiting list and was undertaking moderately major surgery.
“Any case beyond that level of complexity would not be appropriate to be performed in a regional centre, as it is the training, ongoing experience and infrastructure that are needed to underpin the skill of the surgeon,” he said.
“To expect that complex cases requiring intensive care will be operated on in Geelong is clearly irrational in the extreme.”
State Health Minister David Davis said the new surgery arrangements would double the number of operations on children in Geelong and provide more complex procedures than in the past, easing pressure on the RCH.
“Barwon Health and the Government have moved to ensure this allliance with the Royal Children’s Hospital is strengthened because more children will get their treatment at Geelong, closer to home,” Mr Davis told the Independent.
He declined to comment on Prof Dewan beyond saying he was aware of contractual disputes with Barwon Health.