"Organising Patient Transport."

About: Osborne Park Hospital / General surgery

(as the patient),

I live in Esperance and had to go to Osborne Park Hospital for surgery. I knew I would require wheelchair assistance when I arrived at the airport to return home following my surgery. I had many phone calls back and forth trying to organise this service and had stipulated that I was happy to pay. The lady I spoke with told me - no it's okay we can organise that for you, it won't be a problem.

The morning I was leaving the hospital, I asked about the service that was going to pick me up. The nurse then said they couldn't get one - we'll have to call a cab. I asked - how will I get from the cab into the airport? The nurse then said - can you walk to the toilet? Then you can walk into the airport.

She said it was only about 20 steps. I knew it was more than 20 steps and the toilet in my room was only about 5 steps from my bed. The nurse also said there is always someone around, just wave someone down. There is always someone there to help you. I'm a pretty easy going person, but this was bad.

When I got to the airport it was very early in the morning and there was almost nobody around. When I got out of the cab, I knew I wouldn't be able to walk in by myself, so I just sat on the curb. The cab driver was about to drive away, but he then got out of this cab and said this is wrong and he attempted to help me. The cab driver put me on his back, half piggy backing me and half dragging me, like a bag of rubbish. He couldn't leave his cab outside unattended, but he knew he couldn't just leave me there, because this was so wrong. By the time we got inside the airport he was sweating.

I got to a phone to call someone to help. It hurt too much to walk. My discharge papers didn't mention anything about me needing help when I left the hospital.

I have googled services in Perth that help people in my situation and there are three services. I was happy to pay, it wasn't about the money. But I had been assured the assisted transport would be organised.

I'm not the sort of person to complaint, but this was so bad, I just need to tell someone. I will never go back to Perth for an operation again.

Responses

Response from Jennifer Francis, A/Director Safety, Quality & Performance, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, North Metropolitan Health Service

Dear JKZ

Thank you for telling us about the way that your transport back to Esperance was managed after your surgery at Osborne Park Hospital. I am so sorry to hear about this experience that has had such a profound impact on you.

Our hospital policy requires that staff plan for patients’ discharge from the beginning of their admission, which includes planning for transport. This ensures that transport is arranged in a manner appropriate to their medical condition. I acknowledge how stressed and vulnerable patients feel when they are not in the best of health and I apologise most sincerely for the lack of planning for your transport as well as the nurse’s lack of compassion.

In circumstances such as yours, where wheelchair assistance is required, the hospital has a number of processes in place to ensure that the necessary communications and arrangements are in place including liaison with the taxi service and airport. I am very sorry this did not occur on this occasion. I would like the team involved in your care to fully investigate this to ensure this does not happen again. To help us to do this, I would like to encourage you to contact the Safety and Quality Office at Osborne Park Hospital (phone: (08) 93468009 or email: OPHCAC@health.wa.gov.au) and provide us with more details.

Whether you choose to contact us directly or not, I would like to assure you that your feedback has provided me with valuable information that will be used to improve our services.

Kind regards

Jennifer Francis

A/Director safety, Quality & Performance

Sir Charles Gairdner Osborne Park Health Care Group

on behalf of

Tony Dolan

A/Executive Director

Sir Charles Gairdner Osborne Park Health Care Group

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Response from Jennifer Francis, A/Director Safety, Quality & Performance, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, North Metropolitan Health Service We have made a change

Dear JKZ,

In follow-up to my earlier response I would like to update you that as a result of your feedback we are providing additional education to the nurses who work with surgical patients regarding transport options for those returning to country areas after discharge.

The Area Manager for Surgical Services is in the process of implementing a targeted education initiative and she will be utilising the first of these sessions to remind nurses of the transport options for country patients, as well as the need to consult senior nursing staff whenever they are unsure of the correct process.

Thank you again for your feedback which has highlighted to our nurses the importance of considering individual patient needs on discharge. I hope that you have recovered well from your surgery.

Kind regards

Jennifer Francis

A/Director - Safety, Quality & Performance

Sir Charles Gairdner Osborne Park Health Care Group

on behalf of

Tony Dolan

A/Executive Director

Sir Charles Gairdner Osborne Park Health Care Group

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