Jeni Lee’s long wait for treatment is now a political battleground with the opposition claiming it highlights the waste and mismanagement of Queensland Health.
Jeni Lee’s long wait for treatment is now a political battleground with the opposition claiming it highlights the waste and mismanagement of Queensland Health. Chris Ison

Jeni's woes spark political battle

CANCER victim Jeni Lee's waiting list debacle became a political issue yesterday.  

Shadow Minister for Health Mark McArdle seized upon the Emu Park woman's plight, claiming it showed that hospital waiting lists had degenerated into a shambles under Labor.  

The Morning Bulletin reported yesterday that Jeni, who has a rare tissue-eating sarcoma that has disfigured her face, was outraged to be told she had been placed on a waiting list for a breast reduction instead of the facial reconstruction she desperately needs.  

She's been waiting 18 months for the operation she hopes will help her live as normal a life as possible, even though the cancer she has is incurable.  

Mr McArdle weighed in yesterday alleging that the Government's "incompetent mismanagement of Queensland Health" had robbed Jeni of her dignity.  

"I am concerned that many more Queenslanders than Ms Lee fall through the cracks because of Labor's waste and mismanagement," said Mr McArdle.

"We know that last year there were more than 6000 Rocky residents on Labor's waiting list for the waiting list, with over 220,000 patients painfully waiting statewide.  

"The LNP has for a long time called on successive Labor health ministers to release the truth about the number of Queensland patients on their waiting lists but the Bligh Government continues to hide the numbers."  

Mr McArdle attacked Member for Keppel Paul Hoolihan for blaming hard working hospital staff in what he called a "a pathetic attempt to shift blame away from the obvious faults of Labor's inept Health Minister Geoff Wilson".  

"Labor continues to put their own political interests ahead of patients and staff," said Mr McArdle.  

Queensland Health says it has apologised unreservedly to Jeni for the bungle and has set a date for the surgery to rebuild her nose, eye socket and top lip which have been destroyed by the cancer.

But when she was contacted by The Bully yesterday, Jeni said she was still waiting for the date and had not received an apology for the way she was treated by the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane.  

She maintains that the hospital has been trying to delay her surgery to save money because her cancer is terminal and no-one knows how long she has to live.

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