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"Mental Health Ward"

About: Broome Health Campus / Mental Health

(as the patient),

This is in regards to the mental health ward at Broome Hospital.

I was a voluntary inpatient at the hospital due to severe depression and anxiety. Complaints are as follows:

1. After being given medication to help me sleep and actually being in a deep sleep for 4 hours, in my opinion a nurse barged in, turned on all the lights, woke me up and told me I needed to move to general because the bed was needed by someone who was very sick. I have been told by the Psychologist that this was unacceptable practice and it should never have happened. Due to my heightened state of anxiety, I obviously didn't handle the situation well.

2. In the number of days I was in the ward I spoke to a Psychologist once. The nurses spent the entire weekend sitting around watching TV. They planned no activities for any of the patients and indeed, in my opinion on a number of occasions refused to take patients out for something as simple as a walk, because in their words - it's a weekend just relax. I watched this with interest as patients began to unravel. They simply sit or walk around in circles all day waiting for their next hourly cigarette. I believe the nurses wouldn't even let the patients watch TV until I myself piped up.

3. I witnessed a number of nurses speaking, in my view, poorly to patients on regular occasions including calling a person who has extreme mental illness a sore loser over and over again after they lost a game of chess to one of the staff. I feel that all the nurse did was heighten their reaction instead of dampening it. Then I believe they gave them very heavy drugs and sent them to their room.

4. On a number of occasions nurses spoke directly in front of myself and other patients about inappropriate personal matters. In a place where there are many vulnerable people, dealing with a lot of emotional concerns - how that's acceptable behaviour is beyond me.

5. I've received no follow up care. I'm now sitting in General not knowing what is going on. Not one of the so called mental health nurses have visited me.

There are a number of other issues that I would like to speak in person about with someone as soon as possible. I feel the behaviour by a lot of the nurses in there is completely deplorable.

I have been working in the area for a number of years now and have had much training in dealing with trauma and I am certainly not delusional in any way and intend on taking this further if these issues are not addressed. I believe many of the nurses are not trained in mental health. This was told to me by one of the nurses in the ward.


Response from Andrew Shaw, Clinical Nurse Manager, Mental Health, WACHS - Kimberley

Dear Psychology

Thank you for your story concerning your recent treatment and care received and witnessed at Broome Hospital. I was saddened to read how you felt some events and decisions affected your care and acknowledge how these events would have caused frustration and disappointment.

Unfortunately, on occasions hospital staff do have to make decisions often due to factors outside their control, for example moving patients into different areas of the hospital. I apologise for the inconvenience this caused you and how this event appeared quite bewildering. At the same time I am glad you chose to return to the unit after we spoke on the general ward and continue treatment, fully engaging in our occupational therapy programs.

We are very proud of our excellent service and staff, so we are keen to see what went wrong in your case, and make things right.

I hope you are making a full recovery and we wish you the best in your ongoing journey.

If you have any further questions or wish to discuss this matter further please contact me on 08 9194 4111.

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Shaw

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Response from Bob Goodie, Manager, Kimberley Mental Health and Drug Service, WA Country Health Service - Kimberley We are preparing to make a change

Dear Psychology

Thank you for taking the time to inform the Mental Health Team of your concerns during your admission to Broome Hospital.

I have received your complaint and I would like to advise that the Mental Health Executive will review the concerns that you have raised and we take this matter very seriously.

I am very sorry about your experience being transferred to the General ward, late at night. We have made arrangements to meet with the senior staff of the ED and General ward to review the out of hours transfer process to ensure that any patient movements are planned as much as possible.

In regards to concerns about staff qualifications, I would like to advise that all staff are registered with the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and are qualified to work in the mental health setting.

Your concerns about staff speaking in an inappropriate manner will be addressed by a directive to all staff about the codes of professional conduct.

We will review the activities that patients have available on the weekends with our Occupational Therapist and Nursing staff.

Thank you for raising these matters and I would welcome further discussions with you either by email or in person.


Bob Goodie

Regional Manager

Kimberley Mental Health and Drug Service (KMHDS)

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Response from Bob Goodie, Manager, Kimberley Mental Health and Drug Service, WA Country Health Service - Kimberley

Dear "Psychology"

Thankyou for sharing your experience on the mental health ward.

I have followed up on the issues and I have met with the ED and Ward managers to discuss the out of hours transfer process, aiming to improve the coordination of services and ensure patient discomfort is kept to a minimum.

There has been a staff directive issued to advise staff about maintaining a professional standard and ensure they are communicating appropriately with staff and patients.

And we have reviewed the weekend activity schedule to include more activities.

Once again thank you for highlighting these issues and providing an opportunity for us to improve our service.


Bob Goodie.

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