"Does anyone care?"

About: Royal Perth Hospital / Respiratory Medicine & Ward 9C

(as a carer),

Since it appears to be impossible at this stage to get any answers from those concerned, I must tell you my story, in the hope that someone will care and help!

A number of months ago my spouse was admitted to RPH from Bunbury Regional Hospital with fractured vertebras.

During their stay at RPH, a small lung nodule was found. Subsequently, following discharge that same month, a follow-up appointment was organised with the Outpatient Respiratory Clinic at RPH. The first appointment was about a month after discharge.

Despite still having ongoing acute pain in their back, my spouse did a 5-hour car journey to attend only to be told they would need to re-do it all in 3 months, as the nodule was too small to do anything else but wait and see.

As this was the result of the CT scan done during their stay at RPH a month prior, couldn’t this have been said over the phone?

After this first trip, my spouse returned to Bunbury Hospital a few days later with acute severe back pain and stayed there a number of weeks.

I believe this was the direct result of having to sit in a wheelchair, which by the way we had to beg for (as at RPH it seemed to us - being able to borrow a wheelchair from reception is like winning the lotto!), for 6 hours on the top of a 5-hour car trip.

The second appointment with the Respiratory Clinic is set up for a number of weeks from now.

My spouse will again have to do a 5-hour car journey, while their back injury is still not mended.

I phoned the outpatient direct and was put on to the clinic. The person there informed me then that Telehealth appointments were not available until late January.

Why, when we explained our situation to the doctor we saw at the very first appointment, wasn’t this possibility offered to us at the time?

We made it quite clear the drive was too much and insisted on having the CT scan done here, in Bunbury.

I then asked the person I spoke to at the Respiratory Clinic to ask the doctors concerned what we should do: wait until late January or have the CT scan done on the next appointment as planned and they could then review the results?

They were going to call back and never did.

I then asked our GP if he could help. I believe his answer was - I can't do anything; I won’t deal with the public system; I would not even be able to speak to the doctors anyway!

Well then, given it appears that all hospital doctors have 'hand-balled' this to our GP, I would like to know how you can care about patients if you do not communicate?

Either we can speak to the doctor in the Outpatient Clinic, or you have receptionists who can do and be helpful, or you speak to the GP's when they need to contact you.

By the way, we are never given, in advance the names of the doctors we see in Outpatient Clinic. Why? I find this rude.

The lack of communication, clarity in the processes, seemingly an attitude of we don’t know and we don’t care, doctors being inaccessible - and don’t seem to want to be anyway - have left us with a complete disgust of the public health system, for which, as taxpayers we have been contributing for years, but for what?

Regards.

Responses

Response from Lesley Bennett, Acting Executive Director, Royal Perth Bentley Group

picture of Lesley Bennett

Dear Froggy One

Thank you for contacting the Patient Opinion website. I am very sorry to hear of your experience which is below the standard we like to deliver to our patients.

I know the Respiratory team would be disappointed with the service that you received and would want to respond to your frustrations and work out a plan for you that minimises disruption and limits your travel as much as possible, as well as providing a communication link for your GP.

Can I please ask you to contact my office on 08 9224 3261 to provide your details so that I can raise your concerns with the relevant clinicians and provide you with a better level of service moving forward.

Yours sincerely

Dr Lesley Bennett

Director of Clinical Services

Royal Perth Bentley Group

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Update posted by Froggy One (a carer)

Thanks; what are your office hours? I have tried and got no reply, not even a voice box, so I could not leave a message.

Response from Lesley Bennett, Acting Executive Director, Royal Perth Bentley Group

picture of Lesley Bennett

Dear ‘Froggy One’

My apologies that you were not able to get through to me recently. We had not realised the answer phone service had inexplicably dropped off. It has been checked and now fixed.

Our office is manned Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm, and I would welcome once again that you please take the time to again make contact with me, on either 08 9224 3261 or 08 9224 2219.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Kind regards

Dr Lesley Bennett
Director of Clinical Services
Royal Perth Bentley Group

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