"Request for an appointment following doctor's referral"

About: Fiona Stanley Hospital

(as the patient),

My doctor sent a referral to the hospital so I could see a gynecologist.  After a month, I received a text message from Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) to say I will get an appointment letter. I got none. I called the hospital and a staff member told me I have an appointment on a given date and she would send a letter the month prior to confirm. I received none. I called her recently and she said the appointment has been postponed to early next year … and even then it could be postponed further as the hospital has no queuing system. I asked her why I was not notified that the scheduled appointment had been cancelled. She had no reply, but blamed Australia Post. I would have spent a lot of time in the bus getting to the hospital for no reason if I'd attended the appointment.

She told me that I now have an appointment before the end of this year and provided the date. Can I please have a confirmed appointment and a letter to confirm that, so I do not waste my day coming there in the bus when it will be so close to Christmas.

In my opinion, the hospital's utter indifference to normal human protocol about letting people know where they stand, giving appointments and cancelling them without letting patients know, is beyond any excuse.  I think the staff need to be trained to deal with patients, so the patients are not left in mental confusion. If you make an appointment and say a letter will be sent, stick to your word and do the right thing.

Responses

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

picture of Janet Zagari

Dear patient treated with indifference,

Thank you for posting your comments on Patient Opinion. GP referrals are received by the Department of Health Central Referrals Service (CRS) who then send the referral to the appropriate hospital. Once the referral is assessed by the specialist to determine how urgent the referral is, the patient is sent an automated SMS to say that the referral has been accepted.

Appointment letters are not sent until 30 days before the scheduled appointment, as changes may need to be made in the meantime if there are more urgent referrals or if the specialist is not going to be available. When an appointment is changed, a letter is only generated if we have sent a letter notifying you of the appointment so as to not create confusion. I am sorry that in your case this actually made it more confusing for you, because you had been told on the phone when the appointment would be. You should not have been told there is no queuing system in place at the hospital as this is not correct.

I would like you to contact the Fiona Stanley Hospital Patient Family Liaison Service on 6152 4013 or via email FSHFeedback@health.wa.gov.au to tell us your details so that I can make sure that you receive an appointment letter and also to allow us to provide feedback to our clerical team.

I hope that your appointment in December goes well, and once again I thank you for taking the time to post your story as it gives us an opportunity to improve our service so that we better meet the needs of our patients.

Kind regards

Janet Zagari

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