"My visit with Rheumatoligist in Broome Hospital"

About: Broome Health Campus

(as the patient),

I was 1st appt @ 9: 00 am didn't get seen till 9: 45 am. No explanation as to why my appt was late. Finally saw a registrar, who rushed thru her explanation of my results, asked very few questions and when I endeavoured to ask questions was brushed off. She gave her diagnosis which was," We are not sure of a diagnosis just that there is an inflammatory element going on", and said I should start treatment on Plaquenill. I asked her what the possible side effects of drug are and she said I should "google" it! ! I reminded her of my other health issues and she replied - well it's an oral drug so of course there is potential for side effects.

Then the rheumatologist entered room, briefly said hello to me then asked the registrar for her diagnosis and treatment plan. I felt I was not in the room. The rheumatologist agreed with the registrar's treatment plan and advised me that he would speak with me via a telehealth appt in 6 weeks. I tried to interrupt and ask questions but was brushed off. I felt they were both very rushed. The rhueumatologist left the room and the registrar proceeded to write me a script and said they would be in touch.

I felt as though I'd been ignored and my questions had no value. If I'd been able to get a word in, I would have been able to tell them since my visit with the physician 8 weeks previously my symptoms had vastly improved. I also wanted to ask what things I could do personally to improve my symptoms at home i.e. exercise? what type? diet? massage? physiotherapy? The entire visit took less than 15 mins.

I was quite upset and the next day filled out a complaint form at the hospital. Which was subsequently followed up and I was very happy with the support from the people that handled that complaint. I was very disappointed tho that both the rheumatologist and his registrar denied/lied about what took place. As a result I will no longer see them, as I feel I cannot trust them or feel that they are concerned with me as patient as whole.

Responses

Response from Maureen Crowther, Patient Opinion Cordinator, Nursing, WA Country Health Service

picture of Maureen Crowther

Dear Felt Ignored

Thank you for finding the time to write your story on Patient Opinion about your rheumatology visit.

Firstly I apologize that you felt ignored and not listened to. We all like to feel we have had the best treatment and advice each time we visit the health care system and a chance to express our concerns and queries.

I am pleased to hear your complaint was followed up in a timely manner and you were happy with the support received.

I have contacted the Acting Broome Operations Manager and Regional Medical Director to inquire about your complaint and the followup with the department you attended.

I am very sorry your experience of our health system was frustrating and disappointing for you. We value our consumer feedback and will be following up on your story.

However, I am also pleased to read you are feeling better! Whatever you are doing, keep doing it and stay well.

Kind regards

Maureen Crowther

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Response from David Gaskell, Regional Medical Director, Medical, WA Country Health Service

picture of David Gaskell

Dear Felt Ignored

I am grateful you decided to post your experience online. Thanks for taking the time to do so.

In echoing Maureen's comments, I apologise to you for this lack of common courtesy where you were talked over and not actively heard. Also at the start, you were due a simple apology with explanation as to why the appointment began late. Sorry!

Given what you've shared, the main problem seems to have been ineffective communicating by the doctors. Neither communicated that you were the reason they were there, at the centre of the consult. However, I suspect they will be unaware that they have communication learning needs.

So what to do? Well, I will get in touch with both doctors and raise this matter with them in a respectful way. Effective communication skills can be taught and learned, leading to better outcomes for patients and clinicians. I will get back to you with an update.

Please keep in touch with us here online. You can contact me personally through Broome Hospital switchboard.

Sincerely

David

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