"Concerns about recent medical care."

About: Geraldton Hospital / Emergency Department GPs in the Durack Electoral District

(as the patient),

Up until 2 1/4 years ago I and my late husband were well looked after medically by a team of private doctors in a remote northern town plus good services from ambulance and local hospital. Our son, who also lived in that town, was well advised, receiving good attention. We all were treated in a friendly, professional and caring way.

Following my husband’s death, I decided to start afresh in another area which was partly chosen because of perceived medical services available. It seems that “drive-in doctors” do not have the same rapport as local ones we previously experienced. Also, when I asked for advice on which specialist to consult regarding a genetic condition which had previously been successfully treated with surgery but had now reappeared many years later, the GP did not know who I could contact and did not offer to find a suitable surgeon. If I wanted help I had to find a surgeon in Perth myself.

Following a bad accident which damaged facial bones, ribs and knees, I was attended at the emergency centre at Geraldton. Following that I reported to the local GP who did not offer any advice regarding further checks or treatment other than X-ray of knees and ribs. I was informed ribs not broken but fractures would not show on X-ray. No other advice was given regarding on-going care.

My son’s medical situation involves surgical and pathology exploration. He relies on local GP to refer for follow-up pathology. As he told me “it seems that the government hospital uses Pathwest for pathology services and local doctors use St. John of God which is only a collection agency for certain tests. A lot of specialists will only use St. J. of G. making it difficult for patients to follow through with all required tests.

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Responses

Response from Liz Kelly, Executive Services Project Officer, WACHS - Midwest

Dear Follow-up care

I am really sorry to hear about your accident and your disappointment in your follow-up care. Can I please arrange a time for the Acting Health Service Manager/Director of Nursing Nathalie Pass to phone and discuss what care could have assisted you whilst you recovered from this accident. Alternatively you can phone Nathalie on 9956 8694 or myself on 9956 2291 and we can discuss.

Our Regional Director, Margaret Denton has forwarded your story to the practice and we have encouraged them to respond to you on Patient Opinion. I can also forward your contact details to them if you would like and ask them to contact you to discuss your concerns. Alternatively you can contact the practice yourself and ask to speak to the Practice Manager.

I have followed up your concerns about pathology services and was informed by PathWest that if you would prefer to use their services they will accept requests completed on St John of God referral forms. You can contact PathWest in Geraldton on phone 9965 2633 to discuss any tests that are required.

WACHS Midwest is aware that for patients and GP’s the health system can be difficult to navigate. We are working with the WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) to promote the HealthPathways WA website. This website is free to access for GPs and contains information to assist in assessing, managing and referring patients. The aim of HealthPathways is to enable a more seamless, effective and complete patient journey by combining clinical and health service information in one place.

WACHS Midwest aims to provide high quality care in collaboration with other providers that meets patients’ needs in a timely manner. I am sorry this has not been your experience of health services in your area. Please be assured of our commitment to address the issues you raised and assist you with receiving the care you need.

Kind Regards

Liz

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