"Surgery in a public hospital"

About: Maroondah Hospital

(as the patient),

Having waited for a public patient appointment for a few months, I was seen by a surgeon at Box Hill and felt confident in his advice and the need for surgery. I was told the waiting period would be less at Maroondah which is part of the same Eastern Healthcare network. During the waiting time I was approached to volunteer as a patient for medical students as part of their preparation for examinations, which I was happy to agree to. It was suggested that, although there was no remuneration involved, it could help my place on the waiting list - which was neither here nor there to me. The real problem arose as I was in pre-op only to find that the surgeon would not be the one I had originally seen. I was taken aback and felt a real breach of trust. It turned out OK but the fact that public patients go into a pool should be handled better and expectations better managed.

Responses

Response from Alan Lilly, Chief Executive, Eastern Health

picture of Alan Lilly

Dear Happy to help but ...

Thank you for sharing your story on Patient Opinion - we really do appreciate you taking the time to raise these matters with us. I am sorry that we do appear to have had a breakdown in communication on a couple of different levels which has impacted your recent surgery but pleased also to read that it all turned out okay in the end.

With respect to the "pool" you refer to, the reason for this is to ensure that patients can receive their surgery as quickly as possible and as a result of this process, it is indeed possible that you will be operated on by a different Surgeon to the one you saw in the Outpatient Department or Specialist Clinic when the surgery was first booked. For example, in Outpatients you may see a Surgeon who only operates once a month or you may see a Surgeon who operates four times a month. In these cases, we want to ensure that waiting time is minimised as the demand for both surgeons in Outpatients may be equal. Of course, there are exceptions too, based on clinical need. At Eastern Health, we have Operating Theatres running at five different sites within our Health Service and as a result of changes in recent time, patients are now waiting less time for surgery. Generally, that's a good outcome but we do indeed need to do better on communication.

With regard to the comment about the medical student assessment and your place on the waiting list, I can only conclude that there must have been a misunderstanding as your place on the waiting list would never be impacted on whether or not you have participated in student examinations.

I am really sorry to read about the issues you have experienced and you can be reassured that I will pass your feedback on to our Chief Surgeon as well as the Director of the Surgery program. If you wish to provide any further information, please also feel free to email me directly at alan.lilly@easternhealth.org.au

In the meantime, thank you again for sharing your story and allowing us the opportunity to address your concerns. I hope that you are continuing your recovery back to good health.

Kind regards, Alan Lilly

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful

Response from Alan Lilly, Chief Executive, Eastern Health

picture of Alan Lilly

Dear Happy to help but ...

By way of an update, I just thought that I would let you know that Tanya Hendry has also been in touch with me since I made this response on Patient Opinion and so you can be confident that you are in good hands and this will be followed through. I know that Tanya now has more information as well which will be very helpful.

We'll be in touch.

Kind regards and thanks again, Alan Lilly.

  • Happy to help but.. thinks this response is helpful
    {{helpful-1}} other {{helpful-1 == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} so too

Update posted by Happy to help but.. (the patient)

Thanks Alan, while the issues are real this was really a test run to see how Patient Opinion works and I must say I'm really impressed. On the issue itself, is there an option to wait until the original surgeon is available where there is no pressing issue? On the waiting time and student exams - I took the comment completely as 'tongue in cheek' and had no real expectations.

Response from Alan Lilly, Chief Executive, Eastern Health

picture of Alan Lilly

Dear Happy to help but ..

Thanks for your honest feedback and I hope that you will continue to be impressed! With regard to your question, it really is patient specific and this is not the way the system generally works as we are required to "treat in turn" in accordance with Department of Health & Human Services policy. That's actually a good thing in terms of limiting waiting time but if there is a need, we certainly do look at this on a case by case basis. I hope that clarifies things for you.

Kind regards, Alan Lilly.

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful

Recently read

Shift-Alt-R