"The triage process"

About: Fiona Stanley Hospital / Emergency Department

(as a parent/guardian),

My child and I presented to the Emergency Department (ED) on a weekend afternoon recently. They had been recalled by the GP for urgent blood results. The GP sent us to FSH due to having ultrasound services (USS) on the weekend and a surgeon on hand if required. 

Well I believe we waited over an hour to even be triaged. We were sat on the red chairs by the volunteer. I believe the volunteer then proceeded to triage people before they even got to the triage nurse by sending people up to the window in, it seemed, no particular order. Not until people said to the volunteer they were here before that person you just sent up to the nurse.

There was at times only one triage nurse which I believe is ludicrous and dangerous. Occasionally they graced us with two.

Finally, we were triaged after over an hour then we sat with an ATS of 3 for another 3 hours! We finally were seen in the resuss area and were told there was no USS after hours! In what 1st world country and a tertiary hospital doesn’t have USS after hours! Again, I feel it is ridiculous.

I can’t stress enough how dangerous I believe that triage system is and I feel it’s a wonder no one has died waiting to be triaged.


Response from Neil Doverty, Executive Director, Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group, South Metropolitan Health Service

picture of Neil Doverty

Dear lyraey74,

Thank you for taking time to share your events about your child’s recent presentation to Fiona Stanley Hospital Emergency Department (ED).

I apologise you had to wait such a long time to be triaged and to be seen. Although it is unusual to wait that long, delays in being triaged can occur when there is a surge of patients. When this occurs, a call for assistance to triage from within ED is made and the response is dependent on patients' needs already in the department.

All patients are triaged and seen based on the severity of their presenting condition and unfortunately, at times of high acuity in ED, patients may have to wait longer than recommended for their presenting condition. While a referral from a GP can provide essential clinical information to the triaging nurse and the treating team, it does not necessarily prioritise commencement of care above other individuals who have also presented before or after.

Our volunteers in ED assist in ‘meeting and greeting’ as a point of contact for patients and families, providing practical support to patients and their families receiving care in the department; they do not have a role in triaging patients.

Without your personal details, it is difficult to comment on the issue you had with accessing an ultrasound. At FSH we have a seven day per week ultrasound service with highly trained and qualified sonographers. After hours we have qualified staff to perform clinically urgent ultrasound scans.

Fiona Stanley Hospital endeavours to provide the best possible care and to improve care. We would like to investigate the concerns you have raised and encourage you to contact us on 6152 4013 or by email FSHFeedback@health.wa.gov.au if you would like us to look into your experience in more detail. I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

Neil Doverty

Executive Director

Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group

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