"Babies bed taken up by Adults"

About: Bunbury Hospital

(as a parent/guardian),

My baby was booked into Bunbury Regional Hospital to have an MRI done. My baby needed to be admitted as they required sedation. We were due to be at the Paediatric Ward by a particular time in the morning, as my baby was being sedated and they needed to be up early for a feed, so they could be fasted for long enough before our appointment time. 

An hour before we were due to arrive at the Paediatric Ward they called to cancel my baby's MRI, due to there not being enough beds. 

After asking a few probing questions it turned out that the reason there were no beds for my baby to have their MRI carried out was because there were adults using the beds in the Paediatric Ward.

I understand this is standard practice for Bunbury Regional Hospital to fill up the Paediatric Ward with adults. I find it concerning that adults are being placed on a secure ward. What’s the point of a secure ward when you’re putting random adults on the ward (who you don’t know, if they pose a safety risk to our children!) 

When I raised that concern to the caller (I think may have been a receptionist), I felt it was dismissed as ridiculous?! 

As we have private health insurance I requested could we possibly still have my baby's MRI done, but via the private hospital, I was told that it wasn’t an option, I asked why and was told - we just don’t do it that way.  

I am also concerned that the Short Stay Ward in ED wasn’t being used at the time due to budget cuts and lack of resources. 

Our doctor's receptionist tried to re-book another MRI for my baby the following week, but unfortunately due to other commitments we couldn’t take that appointment. That was almost two months ago and we still haven’t got an MRI appointment booked. 

My baby has some complex medical issues and we have had many appointments at PMH and private hospitals in Perth and never have we come across this with those hospitals. 

Responses

Response from Jan Cook, A/Operations Manager Bunbury Hospital, WACHS - South West

Dear one concerned mummy

I am sorry to hear that your child’s MRI procedure was cancelled due to no paediatric beds being available and I apologise that this occurred.

I cannot comment that is was due to adults being admitted to the paediatric ward, however I can say that yes it is a hospital practice to use all vacant beds and this at times does include the paediatric beds as a last resort.

We do have very strict criteria when admitting adults to the paediatric ward to ensure safety for all of the children admitted to the ward.

We are working to cease this practice and we do aim to move our adult patients as quickly as possible.

I know that doesn’t make your child’s admission cancellation any easier.

I have spoken with Global Diagnostics in regards to your private health insurance query and their practice is that children are admitted to the public hospital not the private hospital for this procedure.

You mentioned that the SSU wasn’t being used, however the SSU is always open for appropriate admissions and staff are resourced accordingly.

I would like to take the opportunity to discuss these issues that you have raised with you and if you are willing please call me on 08 9722 1421.

Yours sincerely

Jan Cook

A/Operations manager Bunbury Hospital

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Update posted by one concerned mummy (a parent/guardian)

Thank you for your response.

Recently we finally had another appointment for my baby's MRI and it didn’t get cancelled.

However, I did note that there were still adult patients on the Paediatric Ward.

To enter the Paediatric Ward we had to ring a bell, which is great because it’s a secure ward and our children should be safe when there.

However, to then see adult patients on the ward is very concerning.

I understand you have strict criteria for these patients to be placed on the ward, however there is absolutely no way you could ensure that these patients are not a risk to our children.

I would like to see this change as would, I believe, many other parents with children that regularly visit the Paediatric Ward.

I would like to see Bunbury Regional Hospital set a president and lead the way in protecting our already very vulnerable sick children, by not placing adult patients in the Paediatric Ward at all.

Utilise the Short Stay Wards more and use our greater Bunbury Regional Hospitals (Busselton, Harvey, etc) more efficiently.

Thanks, I look forward to your response and hopefully working towards a much better system for the Paediatric Ward in Bunbury.

Response from Glen Matters, Bunbury Operations Manager, WACHS South West

Dear one concerned mummy

Thank you for your response and I am glad to see your MRI appointment progressed.

I understand and acknowledge your concern regarding the use of the beds in the paediatric ward. I reassure you that at all times, the use of the paediatric beds for adult patients, is undertaken as a last resort. Bunbury Hospital is the specialist centre (Regional Resource Centre) for the South West. As such, the people admitted require the care of specialist clinicians, and it may not be appropriate to delay access to the care the patients require.

Bunbury Hospital routinely utilises all beds throughout the other South West Regional Hospitals, wherever possible and when clinically safe to do so, taking into account the person’s condition and the smaller hospital’s capability.

Patient safety is taken very seriously and patients placed in the paediatric ward are carefully assessed for suitability.

If you would like to discuss this issue further please call me on 08 9722 1421.

Kind Regards

Glen Matters

A/Operations Manager Bunbury Hospital

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