Patients at risk as flight cuts strand city doctors
SPECIALIST doctors are being forced to cancel critical medical appointments after Qantas cut morning flights from Brisbane to Hervey Bay.
Two early flights on Mondays and Wednesdays, leaving Brisbane about 8am, have been dropped by the airline.
The earliest flights now arrive in the Bay 12.30pm on Monday and 4pm on Wednesday
For Brisbane-based cardiologist Dr Matthew Pincus, who travels to the Fraser Coast every second week, the recent timetable changes have significantly impacted his ability to see patients on time.
"Rescheduling requires a lot of secretarial time and it's very expensive for the patients," Dr Pincus said.
"A lot of my patients in Hervey Bay are elderly, so getting in contact with them is quite hard.
"I can understand why Qantas makes commercial decisions about flights, but it's not unreasonable to expect that it's flagged some time in advance with us."
Do you think Qantas should bring back its original flight times to Hervey Bay?
This poll ended on 14 October 2017.
Yes; it's very inconvenient for people who are travelling to and from the region.
No; the changes can stay as they are.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Hervey Bay Chamber of Commerce President Sandra Holebrook said the current arrangements mean the Fraser Coast could end up losing essential health services.
"It's frustrating, because it's hard to cancel appointments and it doesn't look good for the doctors," Ms Holebrook said.
"Because they're not available for the days they're needed it means less service."
Dr Pincus is one of about 20 visiting medical specialists affected by the changes.
Travelling overnight isn't an option either, with Dr Pincus said he would end up "making a loss on the day" because of rescheduled appointments.
He said he wants to see more communication from the airline when they were considering flight changes.
A QantasLink spokeswoman said the airline makes adjustments to their schedules due to operational requirements and seasonal fluctuations.
"We're always reviewing our routes right across the network, and have recently made some ad hoc cancellations to our Hervey Bay-Brisbane flights," the spokeswoman said.
Aviation Councillor Paul Truscott said the council was arranging for discussions with Qantas to find better solutions.