"Unbearable waiting times"

About: Royal Melbourne Hospital / Cardiology

(as the patient),

I had a heart attack and went to the hospital recently for an urgent angiogram/stent job. Fasted all day and nothing happened, next day the same, 3rd day I unplugged myself and started to walk out. Only then did I get action the next morning. Took 30 mins, great job as one artery was 90% blocked.

A few months later I have the odd stabbing pain and my checkup is set for the morning. I'm there early, get a number and sat in the waiting room listening to the news for an hour and a half. I politely return the number to the desk and told the staff member to shove it because I've had enough. I need this checkup and biomedicine scan but I don't need endless waiting around.

I calm down, ring hospital to ask for a new appt they can actually keep or a detailed list of things they would have done so I can get the same services from a more punctual facility regardless of cost. I believe this hospital is stretched to its financial and manpower limits but the double bookings they make when there's no hope of them seeing everyone close to appt times is a stressful pain in the butt. So what are they going to do about it?

Responses

Response from George Braitberg, Executive Director Strategy, Quality and Improvement, Melbourne Health We are preparing to make a change

picture of George Braitberg

Dear marchjj55,

Thank you for your posting. First, let me apologise for the waits, we clearly did not provide you with efficient and timely person-centered care.

In the first instance, as a major trauma and teaching hospital, there are times when life-threatening emergencies "bump" elective procedures. We must always prioritise these cases. However, we also track the times operating room procedures are delayed or postponed, and there is a review and escalation system that has been in place for about 12 months ago to provide visibility and an opportunity to reprioritise and reschedule.

Whether this happened and we failed to communicate with you or not I cannot say without knowing more detail about your specific circumstances.

With regard to your comments about the capacity of our Outpatient Department, we are very aware that we are seeing more and more patients and we are constantly reviewing our processes to improve our efficiency.

We are actively promoting telehealth as an alternative to face-to-face consultations for review patients. In April, we will be launching a patient portal which will allow patients to view, cancel and "fast pass" into a newly available spot. This will help us reduce our "no show" rate which impacts on our ability to run the Outpatient Clinic efficiently. Over time we hope to give more control of outpatient scheduling to patients in order to improve the overall experience.

While I acknowledged that there is work to do, we are actively changing the way we do things and are moving away from traditional models that are much more hospital-focused rather than patient-focused. We are also looking at increasing community care in the belief that bringing patients into hospital is not always the best way to treat illness.

Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback. If you would like the team to look at the specific circumstances of your concerns please contact our Consumer Liaison team by email at consumerliaison@mh.org.au.

Regards,

Prof George Braitberg AM

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