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An Insider's Guide to Getting the Best Out of the Health System

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At some stage all of us go into the health system but almost all of us know little about it. It doesn't come with a user's guide. Australia has an excellent health system but even the best doctors and nurses make mistakes.
  • So how should we choose a doctor?
  • What sort of questions should a patient ask?
  • How do we decide if a course of treatment is best?
  • Is the doctor always right?
  • If we are going into hospital, what do we need to know?
  • What are our rights?
  • What should we watch out for?
Kate Ryder, a hugely experienced health care professional, has seen and investigated the very best and the very worst aspects of our health care. Her new book is Australia's very first patient's manual. It's one of those books you won't realise you absolutely need until you've read it. She presents an entertaining, clever, and easy to understand summary of the cold, hard, facts that any patient needs. It is such a clever idea for a book that it should have been written decades ago. Anyone contemplating medical treatment should read it. Kate takes the reader, in often fascinating detail, through every possible query anyone might have about obtaining medical treatment. In an entertaining way, she arms the reader with the right checklists and warnings about what to watch out for. Medical errors kill an estimated 18,000 people a year in Australia; rates of permanent injury or disability top 50,000 people. Kate Ryder's An Insider's Guide to Getting the Best out of the Health System may well save lives. Ross Coulthart Investigative journalist and Gold Walkley winner
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About the Author

Kate Ryder is a registered nurse with more than 20 years of clinical experience in both public and private hospitals in England and Australia, and in a range of different specialities. These range from emergency, intensive care, general medical, surgical and short-stay wards, oncology, rehabilitation, palliative care, occupational health and community nursing. Kate has also worked as a patient support officer and as a senior investigator with the Office of the Health Care Complaints Commission. During her 10 years at the Commission, she also contributed to the establishment of the Patient Support Office, wrote case-histories for the Commission's annual reports and the Commission's Health Investigator journal, and addressed a number of community groups and gave media interviews about the work of the Patient Support Office and the Commission. While working as a nurse, Kate conducted a quantitative and qualitative research study into the reasons why patients leave the emergency department without being seen by a doctor. She undertook this research in the emergency department of St. Vincent's Public Hospital, Darlinghurst in 1996, as part of a Masters of Public Health (MPH) course at the University of New South Wales. This research later informed the Office of the Health Care Complaints Commission's position on the treatment of the mentally ill in emergency departments, which in part led to the establishment of Psychiatric Emergency Care Centres (PECC) units in emergency departments in New South Wales.

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