"Urgent Waiting Lists"

About: Fiona Stanley Hospital

(as a parent/guardian),

My son received a whiplash injury early last year which turned into Torticollis a few months later. Physio, Chiro and massage therapy were not successful and early this year I paid $300 for a Neurologist to make an urgent referral to Fiona Stanley Neurology Dept for Botox therapy as by then, his neck was at least at a 45 degree angle. I rang a month later and the referral was only just being processed. Three months later I rang again and they had only just booked his appointment for July. 

My son has been unable to look for work, his health has declined significantly and his movement has become more restricted over time. I explained this to Neurology and received a - sorry we can’t do anything. 

I can not afford a private neurologist. Given the six month wait, I am unsure what urgent means in this environment. I know my son is not the only one with this experience. In my opinion, it is completely disgraceful that this is considered acceptable. 



Response from Janet Zagari, Executive Director Transformation, South Metropolitan Health Service, South Metropolitan Health Service

picture of Janet Zagari

Dear mysdimenor,

Thank you for sharing your story on Patient Opinion. I am very sorry to hear of your son's health concerns and the length of time he has waited for an appointment. I understand waiting for an appointment is difficult, especially when he is experiencing pain.

Unfortunately, I am unable to investigate your son's specific situation without his details. I can advise that there are three clinical categories used to classify urgency for outpatient appointments: urgent, semi urgent and routine. If your son was referred as an urgent patient this should have been assessed on the same day - if the referring doctor called the hospital to notify them of the urgency. The referral would have been triaged to a suitable urgency category based on the information provided by the referral. I was concerned to hear that your referral had not been processed one month later. I would like to follow up specifically for you to ensure that your son is receiving appropriate care and I would appreciate it if you could contact the Patient Family Liaison services on phone 6152 4013 or FSHFeedback@health.wa.gov.au to provide details to enable an investigation to take place.

If your son's symptoms worsen please do not hesitate to consult your GP for escalation of your referral if clinically indicated, or, in the case of an emergency, please attend the emergency department.

Thank you and I hope to hear from you soon.

Kind regards

Janet Zagari

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Update posted by mysdimenor (a parent/guardian)

Hi Janet,

Thanks for your response and your concerns. It seems there's a bit of a communication error between what should happen and what does actually happen. My son was referred as urgent on the day of the visit to the Neurologist and I was given a number and told to call if I hadn't heard from them in a couple of weeks which I'm assuming means they didn't get the memo about processing the same day that an urgent referral comes in.

I tried the Family Patient Liaison but was on hold and then needed to go out and have not called again - especially as I was told by Neurology that they couldn't do anything to change the appointment, it seemed futile to try.

I would like this escalated if possible but would prefer not to go through Family Patient Liaison.

Thanks for your time.

Response from Janet Zagari, Executive Director Transformation, South Metropolitan Health Service, South Metropolitan Health Service

picture of Janet Zagari

Dear mysdimenor,

If you would like us to follow this up specifically for you, could you please contact my staff on 6152 2418 and provide them with patient details, so we can put you in touch with the appropriate staff to enable further investigation.

Thank you.

Kind regards,

Janet Zagari

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