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"Waiting time for a specialist appointment"

About: Broome Health Campus / Specialist Outpatients

(as a parent/guardian),

I attended the Broome Specialist Centre with my child for their eye appointment. We were  booked in for an afternoon appointment and we arrived on time and were checked off the patient wait list at the front desk. The desk clerk checked off our details and then asked me to fill in an updated form and to give it to the doctor. I was unsure why I had to do this as none of our details had changed. The waiting room was very full. Patients were called through for their appointments. I was chatting to the couple next to me and we were discussing wait times. Their appointment was booked for after my child’s, so I expected to be called in before them. Other patients arrived after us and were called in. More than an hour later, a lady came out from the office and wanted to check our name again. I repeated my child’s name to her and she hurried back off into the office. The office closed soon, so when the next nurse came out I asked her when my child would be seen. At this stage I had one very hungry and grumpy child on my hands. The response from the nurse I felt was inappropriate and I felt like I was a number in a line and I should not have asked. About ten minutes later another nurse called us through and I told her I was not angry at her, but a bit of consideration would have been nice. Her response was to apologise and explain that they never rang through too say my child had arrived and the file had never been pulled out. My child was then given an eye test and we were told to go back to the waiting room and that we had to go back to the end of the queue. We finally got to see the eye specialist about an hour later.

I now realise as a mother I made an error, never leave home without a packed lunch and a water bottle and change for the vending machine as you never know how long the wait is going to be. Also, ask if the television channel can be changed so you do not have sit there watching shows that are not appropriate for young children.

In this age of technology, would it not be possible to contact patients if the specialist is running behind time. I had taken time off work to attend the appointment.

Points to take into consideration:

- Have the specialist come up over a number of days and do not overbook them.

- Contact the patient if they are running late.

- Keep the patients informed of what is happening and ensure all patient files are received.

Responses

Response from Margi Faulkner, Operations Manager, Broome, WACHS - Kimberley

picture of Margi Faulkner

Dear Annoyed Parent,

Thank you for taking the time to let us know about your experience at the Broome Specialist Centre. I am very sorry that you and your child had such a long wait to see the Specialist.

Visiting Specialist clinics are often very busy and at times there can be a long wait, however, the bookings are made to make the best use of the clinician’s time and ensure the maximum number of patients who need the service are able to be seen. The date and number of days of the visit are carefully planned to try to ensure all those who need to be booked in, can be.

It appears in this case though, that there were some communication issues in our administration of the clinic on that day and I can only apologise for that. If you are happy to contact me on 0417 987 724, or email me at Margi.Faulkner@health.wa.gov.au, I can look into the details of the day you attended and address the specific actions of the day.

You have made some very good points about the communication to patients currently waiting and timing of patient contact and I will follow up with the team regarding how we can improve in those areas.

Thank you for your assistance in improving our service delivery.

Kind regards,

Margi Faulkner

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

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