"My outpatient appointment"

About: Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital

(as the patient),

I was sent the appointment several weeks ago. I booked it into my diary, having moved my clients around to accommodate the appointment. My day was however, cut short by 4 hrs due to this appointment, but that’s the price you pay for using the public system as I’m told. 

When I arrived I checked in at reception when the receptionist had finished her discussion with the nurse... the receptionist did not look at me once during the check-in process despite asking me to confirm my details, etc....

I asked the receptionist how much behind time the clinic was running and again without looking at me the receptionist informed me that - oh, they're always running behind time. I took my seat as instructed.

I waited to be called until I was the last person in the waiting area. I waited over 2 hrs.  

I watched the last patient leave the department at 1755, and I continued to wait to be called for a further 15 minutes. At 1810 I asked the last remaining senior nurse what was the delay. The nurse went to the doctor's office door, which I could see was open, and she called into the room - Mr (my last name) is here and he’s jumping up and down. The nurse walked past me saying don’t blame me. I replied that I only asked them a question.  I was somewhat shocked at their comments and attitude. 

The doctor came out of their room talking to someone, I waited to be called.

On entering the doctor's office we had a discussion when it became clear the appointment was not necessary and they didn’t know why I was given the appointment. I’m sure it was clear I was not happy and asked about whom I could complain to. I also suggested it would be polite and professional if the doctor introduced me to the person in the corner and ask my permission for their presence. The doctor replied that they were a student, but never gave their name or sought my permission. 

I noticed in the reflection in the window the nurse was loitering outside the open office door obviously listening to my consultation. I waited for a bit before I actually got up out of my chair and questioned what they were doing listening to my consultation. As they walked away, they were shouting back at the doctor - let me know if you want me to call security. The doctor reassured them there was no need as it was not necessary. 

I accept it was not the doctor's fault about the appointment and how it had cost me money and wasted my time, and I did tell them this. I also told the nurse with the doctor present that their behaviour and attitude was unacceptable to me, and the doctor agreed discretely, trying to defuse the situation.

The doctor photocopied and gave me the copy of my discharge notes where it clearly states on two occasions no further appointments necessary.

I believe that the attitude of the nurse towards me was unprofessional, aggressive, rude, disrespectful, but even worse they invaded my privacy and breached my right to a confidential consultation with my doctor by listening at the door for at least 15-20 seconds. Their intervention by listening at the door was not requested and it was only that I saw their reflection that I would know my privacy and confidentiality had been breached.

Why did neither the doctor or his student close the door?  

Why a senior nurse thought they had the right to invade my privacy and then try and blame me as a bad guy is offensive and unprofessional. As I left the department I heard the nurse tell the doctor - it’s my job. I called back that their behaviour was totally unacceptable to me.

Why was I sent an appointment when it clearly states no follow-up required?

I left the department at approx 1840, furious.

Responses

Response from Geraldine Carlton, A/Executive Director Sir Charles Gairdner Osborne Park Health Care Group, Sir Charles Gairdner Osborne Park Health Care Group

picture of Geraldine Carlton

Dear skyxz83

Thank you for writing to tell us of your concerns regarding your outpatient appointment at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital. I was very sorry to read about the wait time you experienced and the confusion regarding whether or not the appointment was necessary. I wish to also express regret regarding the staff attitudes and communication you describe – this is not in keeping with the values of our service and I apologise for any distress and inconvenience caused.

We consider your feedback very important in helping us to improve the services we deliver. I encourage you to contact the Patient Liaison Service at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital on (08) 6457 2867 so that we are able to obtain further details and look into the matters you have raised more fully.

Once again, I wish to express my sincere apologies and hope that you will be happy to contact us.

Kind regards

Geraldine Carlton

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Update posted by skyxz83 (the patient)

I believe contacting Patient Liaison is a complete waste of time and effort.

If I felt it would have achieved anything I would have gone there first...

What's more interesting is you don't offer to take ownership of my incident preferring instead to neutralise it and keep it in-house.

I very happy to discuss it with a senior member of the management team but I tried that first and all five that I asked to speak to were on 'holiday'.

Response from Geraldine Carlton, A/Executive Director Sir Charles Gairdner Osborne Park Health Care Group, Sir Charles Gairdner Osborne Park Health Care Group

picture of Geraldine Carlton

Dear skyxz83,

Thank you for your reply post. I am very sorry you feel that it would not be helpful to contact the Patient Liaison Service; or that we are not taking your feedback seriously. Once again, I would like to reassure you that we consider your feedback very important as it helps us to understand where improvements can be made so we can better meet the needs of our patients.

Unfortunately, due to the large number of outpatient clinics we run, it is very difficult to investigate the concerns you raise without some further information. If you would prefer to email your contact details to PatientLiaisonService.SCGH@health.wa.gov.au I will arrange for a member of my Executive team to contact you.

I would like to help you with this matter and hope that you will be happy to contact us.

Kind regards

Geraldine Carlton

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