"I was made to feel like my questions and concerns were not valid"

About: Box Hill Hospital / Maternity Service

(as the patient),

Recently I was at another of my high risk maternity appointments at Box Hill Hospital. The appointment reminders always instruct you to arrive 15 minutes early and I always do. Upon presenting to reception the line was to the lifts as only one of the two receptionists were attending the desk. They were understandably a bit nervous with the pressure, however they are ALWAYS slow. I was also meant to see a doctor and they gave me a slip to see a registrar.

As I'm sure you can appreciate the line took 15 minutes to get through and then I was told to wait in the waiting area and it shouldn't be too long of a wait this time as I was first to go (in the high risk section). To my surprise again I was waiting for an hour to have my name called, that's an hour for every maternity appointment I have had there including the regular part. To my dismay the doctor who I saw read the slip the receptionist had given me and then wanted to fob me off to a registrar. I pointed out to the doctor that my appointment actually had their full name written in my appointment book and I had already been waiting over an hour. The doctor's dry approach did not improve although they allowed me to see them.

Every part of my appointment I was fighting back tears because I was made to feel like my questions and concerns were not valid of any or a proper response. I was lucky enough to have the Doppler but this doctor didn't even bother to wipe the gel off me or offer a tissue after they had finished, what felt like their 10 second check. I had to repeatedly ask my questions and voice my concerns and this doctor dismissed it all.

Once I finished in the appointment I went to line up at reception to have my next appointment booked. To my surprise the line was to the lifts again! Unbelievable! Then I race down to where I had parked my car to see I had been issued a parking ticked 5 minutes after my ticket expired. All for what? Safe to say I cried the whole way home.

I understand the hospital is overworked and understaffed, but this is not good enough! Each and every appointment in maternity, whether it be with a renal doctor, a registrar or the head high risk doctor, the wait times are always an hour and that's including when I'm first in line.

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Responses

Response from Alan Lilly, Chief Executive, Eastern Health

picture of Alan Lilly

Dear Sos2015

First of all Sos2015, thank you for sharing your story on Patient Opinion. I am so sorry to read about your experience with our service at Box Hill Hospital and I can honestly say that my heart sank when I read that our service and our staff almost brought you to tears and that you also felt like you had been fobbed off and had your questions dismissed by our staff. I agree that this is not good enough and I am really sorry to read about your experience.

I am also sorry to read about the long queues which you have experienced and your comment that this is a common occurrence. I understand that your time is valuable too and that you schedule your own day around your appointments with us.

And then the parking ticket, I understand that was the last thing you needed. As a means of assisting you with easy car parking next time you come to Box Hill Hospital, please let me know by email to alan.lilly@easternhealth.org.au and I will arrange complimentary car parking for your next visit. If you email me, we will arrange this ahead of your visit.

In the meantime, please be reassured that we take your feedback seriously and I will have my own discussions with the management team to get to the bottom of the queuing issues and also follow-up the matter of dismissive attitudes.

You can be reassured of my own follow-up on this matter and my commitment to exceeding patient expectations. I hope to hear from you and to arrange the complimentary car parking next time you visit which I hope will go some way to make up for your last experience with us.

In the meantime, thank you again for sharing your story. Your feedback helps us focus on where we need to improve.

Kind regards, Alan Lilly

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Update posted by Sos2015 (the patient)

Thank you Alan for taking the time to read and respond to my feedback. I have sent you an email and I eagerly await your response especially with unresolved queries. I do sincerely hope that there is more urgency put on patients appointment times, not just for me but for everyone else who is left waiting hours and then get a nasty car park fine. I also hope the doctors hear our voices and we should feel confident asking our questions and raising our concerns. Fingers crossed on improvement and thank you for looking into this for me. To be honest I am dreading my next appointment but hopefully it will be better.

Response from Alan Lilly, Chief Executive, Eastern Health

picture of Alan Lilly

Thank you also Sos2015

I know that we have had a "side conversation" on email too so I am pleased to confirm that that we have arranged the parking for your next visit (as per the details in the email) and also, Janet Horman from our Maternity Program is expecting your call (all her details are in the email too). As we discussed, Janet and her team were most concerned about your experience and Janet is keen to be able to assist you with all of your queries and if not, seek clarification from others.

Take care and I am hoping that you will have a less stressful next visit to the Box Hill Hospital. Fingers crossed too!

Kind regards, Alan Lilly

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Update posted by Sos2015 (the patient)

Good morning Alan,

I just wanted to let you know my appointment recently was surprisingly pleasant. The doctors were all very prompt between patients and the wait time was fine (less than 20 minutes).

The doctor who I saw was really thorough and patient with me. She really put my mind at ease (I'm sorry I forgot her name).

She addressed all my questions and actually looked at my file before doing so.

It felt like I was in a different place all together.

I did use the parking you kindly suggested and had my ticket validated. Thank you.

I am looking forward to my next appointment.

Thanks again Alan,

I am blown away with the improvement and really do appreciate you listening to my concerns.

Kind regards,

sos2015