"Poor patient service"

About: Albany Health Campus

(as a carer),

I took my partner to the Emergency Department at Albany Hospital recently, as they have injured their hand, and when we arrived there were multiple people there who were seen quickly. After being seen by triage and the admissions nurse we were told to take a seat. Shortly after, more people came in and were seen quickly. This continued to happen while we sat. After sitting for over two hours, an elderly person came in and after receiving minor treatment was taken in by wheelchair. My partner and I waited another hour, then I approached the triage nurse as my partner who has a spinal injury was in extreme pain and in tears, as they can't sit in hospital chairs for long periods. When I asked the nurse if we could have another chair or wheelchair, the nurse said that the chairs that were in the waiting room were the only chairs that the hospital had and that the hospital does not have wheelchairs. They told me that we would have to stay seated for another 30 minutes or so before we would be seen, and I believe they had a 'don't care' look on their face. In the meantime more people came in who were seen immediately. I ended up having to take my partner home without them being seen by a doctor, as they were in extreme pain. We will not be coming back to your hospital ever again; no one deserves to be treated like my partner was treated. Even if you improve customer service we won't come back.

Responses

Response from Cindy Stainton, Regional Nurse Director, WACHS - Great Southern

Dear left uncared for,

I am very sorry that you have had this experience of our Emergency Department (ED) on the Albany Health Campus (AHC). Please be assured that we are grateful when our community provides feedback as it helps us to identify areas for improvement or acknowledge and share areas of best practice.

Unfortunately, I can only give a generalised response to some aspects of your experience. Emergency departments are often busy and complex environments and their main role is to diagnose and treat acute and urgent illnesses and injuries. Patients are seen in order of medical urgency with non-urgent patients being seen after patients with life-threatening, emergency, urgent or semi-urgent conditions have been seen. Many patients are more unwell than they appear to others. Our Triage Nurses are trained to assess patients on arrival and determine the urgency of care required. Patients with non-urgent issues will wait the longest.

From your description, it does sound like the department was particularly busy when you and your partner visited, however, this should not impact on the quality of our service. I am very sorry that the communication between you and our Triage Nurse did not meet your expectations. There does appear to have been some poor communication occurring. In general, we use wheelchairs for patient transport and not for general seating as they pose some risk in waiting areas. We will discuss your feedback with our ED team so that they are aware of the issues you have raised particularly around how we communicate information. We know that we can always improve how we communicate information to our patients.

We would like to investigate your feedback more fully. Please contact our Consumer Feedback Coordinator, Ceinwen Gearon, on 9892 2284 or via the email address GS.PSQU@health.wa.gov.au.

I hope that your partner has recovered from the injury sustained to their hand and I would strongly recommend that should you or your partner require urgent or emergency care that you do attend our ED. I am confident that your experience will be different.

Yours sincerely,

Cindy Stainton

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