"My recent experience with the health of my baby."

About: Kalbarri Health Centre

(as a parent/guardian),

Recently my baby woke around 4am struggling to breathe. I drove my baby straight up to the Medical Centre only to realise nobody was there.

I pressed the button to call the on-call nurse but the call got cut off. I then pressed the button again and got on to someone from Health Direct only to be cut off again as I was trying to explain my situation. I pressed the button once again and got another person at Health Direct. I told them I had just phoned and that my call had got cut off. The person took my mobile number this time, in case it cut off again and I explained once more my situation. This person told me she thought my baby sounded like they had Croup and after that the call cut off for the third time! All the while I am standing out on my own at 4. 30 in the morning freezing, wind howling, holding my baby in the Kalbarri Health Centre carpark!

As I was heading back to my car my mobile rang and it was the last person I was speaking to from Health Direct who told me that I should get to my nearest hospital immediately and proceeded to give me the address of the Geraldton Regional Hospital an hour and a half away! ! I didn't feel it would be safe for me to be on my own driving to Geraldton with a baby that's not breathing normally at that time of the morning, in case my baby got worse somewhere between Kalbarri and Geraldton.

I went home and looked up information on what to do for Croup, gave my baby a warm shower with lots of steam and some essential oils to help their breathing after that they fell asleep. I monitored my baby's breathing, using mother's intuition, which at times got me close to wanting to call the ambulance.

At 8 am the Medical Centre was open and I went there straight away the nurse was amazing and my baby was diagnosed with Croup/stridor and was given a dose of steroids and a nebuliser with adrenaline. I was lucky things turned out ok but I don't know what would've happened had my situation been a lot worse. It gives me a constant uneasy feeling with the Health Centre no longer being open 24hrs. It seems like we are going backwards!

Responses

Response from Michele Young, Coordinator Executive Services, Executive Services, WACHS - Midwest We have made a change

picture of Michele Young

Dear Pebbles

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience on Patient Opinion. I am so very sorry and equally concerned to read about your experience while seeking treatment for your baby at the Kalbarri Health Centre. As a mother of a child who has suffered with croup I know how frightening it can be.

The Kalbarri Health Centre provides a 24 hour/seven day a week health service to the Kalbarri community. The call button you describe links directly to Healthdirect which allows for 24/7 access to a nurse triage helpline. Callers to Healthdirect speak with a registered nurse, who assesses their situation and contacts the nurse on call at Kalbarri Health Centre if required. We have recently received similar feedback around the system and contact with Healthdirect and from that feedback I can advise that our Communications team is currently investigating call bell systems across our region inclusive of Kalbarri. Regarding Health Direct directing you to the Geraldton Hospital this is not in line with our protocol which is for Healthdirect to contact our nurse on call in the first instance who will attend the Kalbarri Health Centre. The Operations Manager, Midwest District has contacted Healthdirect management to notify them of this issue. To allow us to investigate this matter fully we would really appreciate if you could identify the date of the incident to enable a thorough review of the process by Healthdirect, without the date it will be difficult to trace your contact. You can do this by contacting Andrew Klein Operations Manager, Midwest District on 9956 2268 or myself on 9956 8695 or michele.young@health.wa.gov.au. Your call would be very welcome and can still be addressed anonymously if you wish. Should you choose not to contact us this will not stop us from making improvements however the information you provide will allow us to identify exactly where things went wrong. WA Country Health Service Midwest would really like to resolve this issue to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

I was pleased to hear that the care your baby received at the Kalbarri Health Centre was of a high calibre as I know our staff are committed to providing high quality compassionate care and a great patient experience. I will ensure your compliment is passed onto the team.

In the event of an emergency please don’t hesitate to contact St Johns Ambulance on 000.

Thank you again for making contact, we really appreciate your feedback for without it we would not be aware of these issues and would not have the opportunity to improve our service. I hope your baby has made a full recovery.

Kind regards

Michele

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Response from Michele Young, Coordinator Executive Services, Executive Services, WACHS - Midwest We have made a change

picture of Michele Young

Dear Pebbles,

Just a quick update - upon testing the call bell located outside of the Kalbarri Health Centre a technical issue was identified and the unit will now be replaced. Thank you for highlighting this without your feedback we would not have been aware of this issue.

Thanks again for sharing your feedback on Patient Opinion as it has allowed us to improve our service.

Kind regards

Michele

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