"On the waiting list, off the waiting list, without any information"

About: Royal Perth Hospital / Elective & Emergency Orthopaedic Surgery & Bone Tissue Bank

(as the patient),

There is something amiss in the hospital's procedures. Months after confirmation that I am on a waiting list for a hip replacement operation I am informed that I am not on any waiting list. I am a pensioner.

Earlier this year I was put on a waiting list and in six months, I will not be any closer to the operation. In the meantime, pain has increased, mobility very much decreased and parts of my body are suffering because of the use of a mobility aid. General health also has suffered because of reduced activity, trouble sleeping with the pain, being confined to the house and unable to maintain social contacts outside.

Below is the sequence of events to date:

My Medical Service sends the Royal Perth Hospital a referral for me to have a hip replacement operation. A ‘do not reply’ SMS then informs me I have been placed on a waiting list.

I did not hear from the hospital again so a month later I emailed them asking for confirmation and giving them my contact details to make sure I don’t miss any communication from RPH. They responded advising that they forwarded my email to their Waitlist Coordinators and Orthopaedic Clinic so they were aware of the best way to contact me.

Some months later, I had not heard anything further so I contacted them saying that that I had been on the waiting list for a hip replacement for a few months and asking them to set my mind at rest and confirm that I am still on the waiting list. I received a response that said they had made me an appointment to see the Doctor at the Orthopaedic Clinic on a set date and time and posted the details out to me. They said I was not currently on the waiting list for my operation and the doctor will talk to me about it when I see them in at my appointment.

So after over three months of waiting I am told that I am, after all, not on a waiting list, that I have to suffer another two months before I even see the doctor who might then put me on another waiting list.

What must I do to get any help in this matter? I think I have done all the right things: seen the GP; keep in contact with RPH; wait patiently for over three months while my condition worsens. Parts of my body are packing up now because of the use of my mobility aid. Pain is constant; sleep is difficult. No wonder people get to feel hopeless and suicidal. There is no end to this treadmill, no light yet at the end of the tunnel. I am at the end of my wisdom and I don’t think I can face another three months of this.

Responses

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

picture of Lesley Bennett

Dear Xerxes

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, so that we have the opportunity to offer an explanation and provide you with support. I am sorry that you have been left feeling hopeless through this process, that is certainly not the experience we want our patients to have and I would like to apologise for this.

The orthopaedic doctors will always see you in clinic before placing you on a wait list for surgery and I’m sorry if that was not made clear for you. Sadly the waiting list to see a surgeon is long but if your symptoms are deteriorating it would be helpful for your GP to contact us with this information so the orthopaedic doctors can determine whether they need to see you more urgently.

We would be happy to speak with you to discuss your concerns further and encourage you to please contact our Consumer Engagement Unit on 9224 1637 and talk with one of my team. They will ensure that you are put in contact with one of our Co-Directors who can review your case to date and advise you on the best course of action going forward.

Again I apologise and encourage you to contact us through this formal channel so that we can assist.

Kind Regards

Dr Lesley Bennett

Executive Director

Royal Perth Bentley Group

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