"Lack of services"

About: Healesville and Yarra Valley Health

(as the patient),

As a community member living in the Yarra Valley I feel sad it is necessary for me to write again and complain of a local service, or lack of it, but the problems need to be highlighted so things can change. The Healesville Hospital and Yarra Valley Health Service reopened approximately 12 months ago and since then there has been a decline in the services being offered and the waiting time seems to have reached a record high. My neighbour wanted her child to see a Speech Therapist so her child is ready for school, but there is no longer a Speech Therapist working there. Seeing an Occupational Therapy Officer is almost impossible because of the waiting time and seeing a children's Physiotherapist takes weeks.

At a community meeting for the kinder it was also mentioned there is a very long wait for physiotherapy for adults and Occupational Therapy is closed and has been for several weeks. A positive is the extended hours GP clinic, but I object to reception staff asking me why I need to see a doctor when they have no training. I was informed they were told to ask these questions by a senior receptionist so they can judge how urgent the appointment is. I feel this is not acceptable. I believe people need to be aware of how we suffer in rural areas.  

Responses

Response from David Plunkett, Chief Executive, Eastern Health

picture of David Plunkett

Dear timely appointments needed

Thank you for providing your comments and feedback. Its great to hear first hand the experience of our communities who look to access our services.

Providing timely and clinically-appropriate care is a key priority for Eastern Health’s community health services. So we can best meet the needs of clients with greater care demands, we have systems in place to ensure they are seen in order of clinical urgency.

That said, we understand waiting periods can be frustrating, and we remain committed to providing timely and quality care to all our clients.

To help provide a better service, we are currently recruiting for recently vacated roles in speech pathology and occupational therapy at Healesville Hospital and Yarra Valley Health site.

While that process is underway, we have undertaken a range of measures so clients can continue to receive care, such as providing referrals for treatment at our local community health partners.

Physiotherapy services are not affected by this, and continue to operate as normal.

In regards to our general practice reception staff asking why you are seeing a doctor, this is so we can ensure clients are seen in order of clinical urgency, where required. For example, someone with chest pains or shortness of breath may be seen sooner than someone with a cold. Our reception staff have undertaken a course to provide them with basic triage skills, including how to recognise and consider high risk categories when patients are requesting appointments.

However, all our staff, including those at reception, completely respect your right to privacy. You are under no obligation to tell our staff about your condition, and we will gladly ensure you will still see one of our general practitioners in a timely manner.

Thank you for your valuable feedback regarding our services. We would also be happy to speak to your neighbour and the person at the community kindergarten meeting who have raised issues with our service, so we can discuss their concerns.

Kind regards

David

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