"Box Hill Outpatients"

About: Box Hill Hospital

(as a parent/guardian),

Last week I attended Box Hill Hospital outpatients with my toddler for a followup appointment after surgery. Less than 24 hours earlier we received a voicemail message asking us to bring a referral from our GP. There was no way we could get to the GP before the appointment and the GP really has nothing to do with this case. Eastern Health performed the surgery and Eastern Health asked us to come back for a followup appointment. It seems a waste of time and resources to take the toddler to a GP for a referral when we are already in your system. The receptionist at outpatients told me she would have to ask another Eastern Health staff doctor to write us a referral and we would have to wait longer while that happened. I apologised and she said, this is just not the way we normally do things. I was made to feel like I was an irresponsible parent. She claimed that I would have been told at the last appointment that I would need another referral. I was not.

My second issue is the wait time. I was told my appointment was 9am and I was at the clinic at 9am. We were not seen by a doctor until 10: 45am. I heard the receptionist tell another patient that all appointments are at 9am. Why would you have all patients attend at the same time, only to wait for an hour or two for their turn? I don't mind waiting a while if the doctors are running behind time but it is unreasonable to expect me to sit for so long in a crowded waiting room with a toddler and nothing to do (there's not even phone reception! ) when you could easily see from your list of appointments that numerous patients will be seen before me. You could at the very least inform me how many patients are ahead of me and estimate my wait time. I felt unable to take my child to get a drink or to take them to the toilet because I was worried we would miss our appointment but after an hour and a half I had to take the risk. There must be a better system. Surely you could offer appointment times like GPs do.

Responses

Response from David Plunkett, Chief Executive, Eastern Health

picture of David Plunkett

Dear Waiting for surgery

Thank you so much for taking the time to provide this feedback on Patient Opinion as it is through comments such as yours we are able to reflect and improve the care and service we provide.

I apologise for the experience you have had and can appreciate how frustrated you would feel given the different aspects of your outpatients visit last week. I am also sorry you were made to feel like an irresponsible parent. As a parent myself, I would not like to be made to feel this way either.

We are undertaking a number of projects within this service to improve the patient experience and I will ensure your feedback and suggestions are included in this work. There are opportunities to learn from how clinics work to both reduce the waiting time and also to make the environment better for when people are waiting.

To this end, as a result of comments made via Patient Opinion, we have recently made newspapers available in waiting areas and are progressing with installing televisions so people can watch free to air channels. Whilst these improvements are not directly related to your feedback, I trust you can see we are listening to feedback provided and making the necessary improvements.

I trust, Waiting for surgery, the recovery after surgery is going well.

Kind regards

David

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