"Extremely long wait time in Emergency Department."

About: Geraldton Hospital / Emergency Department

(as a carer),

My partner is a Type 2 Diabetes patient which has now lead to Renal Failure which we have been managing at home for the past 18 months with Peritoneal Home Dialysis.  Recently, I ended up taking my partner to ED after suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting all night. We managed to be seen by a doctor within an hour or so which was great. After seeing the doctor he advised us to return to our local GP to follow-up on the blood results.  We went to the Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service where the doctor was quite concerned that the level increased for Pancreatitis, so he had my partner get bloods done there and then at GRAMS and told us to come back again in a couple of days to check on the results. After leaving from GRAMS, I was called by reception from GRAMS later that afternoon informing me that we needed to go to Grams and pick up a letter stating the condition and take it to ED where my partner would be seen to as soon as we got there due to the blood results increasing at a higher level. We got to the ED and was examined by a nurse and then told we would be seen to shortly.  At this stage my partner was not uncomfortable in any way but had been complaining about feeling lethargic and nauseous. Time went by and people who had come in after us had been in to see the doctor before us. I managed to keep myself calm whilst convincing my partner to wait a little longer because we will be next. After 4 hours of waiting and watching other people go in before us I went to the front desk and asked how much longer would it be before my partner would be seen by the Doctor as he was now feeling light headed due to having nothing to eat for some time and I didn't want to leave him to go get food just in case the doctor called his name out. The nurse told me that he was next in line and I needed to be patient. Quite frustrated inside, I walked away as I thought I was being patient after sitting there with him waiting patiently watching other people go in before us. By this time it was quite late, 4 and a half hours since we had arrived, and we were extremely exhausted and hungry and could no longer wait. I politely went and asked the nurse again if we were going to be seen and he replied, with a tone, that they would see him next and as the nurse was informing of this, once again the doctor called out another patient. This is when I became quite frustrated but politely asked for the letter we had from the doctor at GRAMS and said I would be putting in a complaint about this experience which was extremely outrageous. I am a patient person who feels that because of my cultural identity, my partner and I were mistreated and we had to suffer because of it which is very sad this day and age.

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Responses

Response from WA Country Health Service

Dear Please No Names to Be

Thank you for writing to us and sharing your story on Patient Opinion, I am sorry that we were not able to provide you with a welcoming, timely health service experience and that your partner did not receive the care that he needed.

I understand how frustrating waiting can be particularly when a loved one is feeling unwell. The Geraldton Hospital Emergency Department uses the Australian Triage Score system to prioritise patients based on how unwell they are, as such patients are not seen in the order they arrive. However you and your partner did have a very long wait and this is not ideal and we do aim for patients to be seen within four hours of arriving.

We are concerned that you felt discriminated against and we want to ensure that every patient receives the same high quality care that is professional, timely and compassionate.

I have spoken to Jeff Calver, Acting Operations Manager, Geraldton Hospital and he would very much like to discuss the concerns you have raised. Your call would be very welcome and still addressed anonymously if you wish. You can phone Jeff on 9956 2369, alternatively you can contact me on 9956 2291 or email liz.kelly@health.wa.gov.au and I can pass your details on to Jeff to contact you.

Your feedback is valued and helpful in highlighting where we need to improve and we hope that you contact us so that we can work with you and ensure your partner’s care needs are met.

Again thank you for taking the time to provide feedback about our service and I hope to hear from you soon.

Kind Regards

Liz

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