"Declined PATS application"

About: Broome Health Campus

(as the patient),

Recently I submitted my PATS request in relation to being referred to a Rheumatologist in Perth. At the time of submitting I was lead to believe that because the visiting specialist clinic in September was already booked out, and as this was my initial appointment, PATS would be able to book my flight for an appointment in October.

The next visiting Rheumatologist Clinic in Broome is in April next year.

My referral letter referenced the significant pain/ inflammation that I have been experiencing in my back, buttocks, achilles tendons, and other generalised pain, which according to the referral is likely an auto immune inflammatory condition, Ankylosing Spondylitis. Aside from the pain, fatigue, sleep disturbance and reduced mobility that I have been suffering, early diagnosis is important so that treatment can be started as soon as possible to prevent damage to the spine. ( per Better Health)..

Today I received notification from PATS that my application has been declined by the SMO (senior medical officer), because my referral is  non - urgent and I can be seen by visiting specialist.

Unfortunately, the next clinic in Broome isn't until April next year .... this would mean 9 months wait time from referral...

I would get this if next available appointment was at least in keeping with visiting specialist timeframes ( April and September) ( 5 mths & 7 mths apart), but I feel 9 months from time of referral isn't reasonable, and I have been disadvantaged as a result.... I would also like to know how  urgent versus non- urgent is determined, and what is considered reasonable wait times for both.....

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Responses

Response from Sue Phillips, Senior medical officer, Broome, Medicine, WACHS - Kimberley

Dear Unreasonable wait time,

Thank you for your feedback. WACHS Kimberley is committed to providing quality health care services locally, and where local services are not available, PATS assistance is available to access services in Perth.

I understand that a local specialist clinic appointment was offered to you for the September clinic but that this was declined due to your work commitments.

In addition, the referral letter from the GP had advised that your symptoms had resolved after a short course of treatment that he had provided.

As such, given your inability to take up the offer of a September appointment, the Senior Medical Officer made a reasonable assessment that it was considered clinically safe to wait for the next available clinic. This decision was reviewed by the Operations Manager and found to be clinically appropriate in the light of the referring doctor’s information.

Nevertheless, should your condition have changed since the referral letter was assessed, the Senior Medical Officer is more than happy to facilitate an earlier clinic appointment in September. Please contact the Specialist Centre on 08- 91942204 and we will ensure that you can be added to the list

Many thanks

Sue

Dr Sue Phillips, Senior Medical Officer

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Update posted by Unreasonable wait time (the patient)

Thank you Sue for your quick reply.

I contacted the specialist clinic a week prior to submitting my PATS application to see if I could be seen locally instead, however there were no available appointments, which is why I proceeded with a Perth appointment for October. PATS advised that my application was eligible under the circumstances of no availability locally. They then contacted me several days later to ask if I would go on the wait list in Broome in case there would be a cancellation. I declined on the basis that there was no guarantee of being seen, and that cancelling my work, given the uncertainty, was not appropriate at such short notice.

I have contacted the specialist clinic again this morning based on your reply, but I have been told (again) that there are no appointments available.

You are right that my symptoms settled with a course of treatment, but unfortunately, this has not resolved my issue, as the medication prescribed is prednisolone, which can only be for a short duration. My response to the medication confirmed to my doctor that it was likely that I have an auto/immune inflammatory condition, hence the referral to Rheumatology, my condition and symptoms are not resolved.

I appreciate that my referral was written in July, and your response as of yesterday was based on this, however, I would have expected a decision to have been considered obtaining further information from me or my doctor, given the nature of the likely diagnosis, and limitations of treatment prescribed at the time.

Perhaps you could advise me given the option you have suggested is not available.....

Response from Bec Smith, Regional Director, WACHS - Kimberley

picture of Bec Smith

Dear Unreasonable wait time,

Thank you for sharing your story with us. I am sorry you feel that we have not managed your referral requirements in a timely and clear manner.

I know that Sue and the team are committed to achieving the best outcome for you and I have asked Shane Bolton, Acting Operations Manager, to arrange a meeting with you and Sue to work through the next steps with you.

I would encourage you to contact Shane on 08 9194 2855 to arrange a time that suits you.

I wish you well with your appointments and trust they will address your health issues. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any further issues with the process after meeting with Shane.

Kind regards,

Bec

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Response from Shane Bolton, Acting Operations Manager, Broome, Management, WACHS Kimberley

Dear Unreasonable wait time,

Thank you for taking the time to meet with us regarding this issue. I understand that you have had your follow up appointment with the Specialist at the Broome Hospital. I hope the appointment went well and you now have a clear plan towards managing your condition.

Please feel free to contact me should you need any further follow up regarding your experience.

Kind Regards

Shane Bolton

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