"Waiting list for urgent surgery"

About: Maroondah Hospital

(as a relative),

My spouse was referred to Eastern Health (Maroondah) needing surgery to repair their hip. As a parent who has 4 children to support, this surgery was needed so they could recover and continue to provide for our family. 

After a lengthy wait time to see a specialist, my spouse was misdirected to the wrong specialist, therefore needing to be placed back on the waiting list for another long wait. In total the wait time to finally see the correct specialist was over 12 months!

By now they were really struggling with pain, movement and mental issues associated with their loss of normal physical abilities. They had to take time off work due to unbearable pain. This obviously affected our family in many ways, mainly financially.

Finally at the start of this year my spouse was booked to see the correct specialist and placed as a Category 2. This means they are semi-urgent and surgery should be done within 60 days. 

At 80 days l rang the department and was told that they still had a long wait to go. I requested that my spouse be placed on the  cancellation list meaning that at short notice they would happily fill the place of a cancelled surgery. I also asked that they be placed on the Box Hill Hospital waiting list, hoping this may help them. 

It is now 150 days of waiting for my spouse's semi urgent surgery. I called again last week to see where they were on the waiting list. I was told that firstly, they were called and asked if they still needed surgery. And because my spouse didn’t call back they were taken off the list. I would like to mention that my spouse never received a call at all! Thankfully l rang when l did and requested that they be placed back on the list. My spouse was so angry to hear that they were taken off the list when they never received a phone call. And l think important information such as this should be sent in writing so that the patient receives the information and can personally reply. 

Secondly, during this conversation regarding their wait time, l was informed that the surgeon has taken personal leave till later in the year. The surgeon will pick up where they left off on the waiting list when they return, putting my spouse's surgery months away. When l asked if l could have some indication as to when this may be, they said my spouse wasn’t on the bookings list, so it will be months away. 

During this wait we have received no communication about anything! No communication after the 90 days to notify us that surgery would be a longer wait than usual, no communication that the surgeon was on leave till later in the year. No communication to give us other options we could utilise (such as other hospitals in Victoria that could do the surgery). Nothing at all. 

The situation is now my spouse cannot work due to the constant pain they are in. They cannot claim disability because Centrelink is ridiculously understaffed and not willing to assist without you having to jump through hoops. And if they do get disability approval it is months away. Thankfully l also work, but living off one casual income is really hard. My spouse, who is constantly in pain, has found bearable casual work for the time being. Surgery is the only way they can get back to being employed full time. To make matters worse, because their good hip has had to compensate for so long, that hip is now also showing signs of damage and needing attention and surgery. This was confirmed by the surgeon at my spouse's initial appointment. 

l would love to say that my local public hospital provided great care to its community members. However in this instance l cannot say one good thing about Eastern Health's handling of my spouse's situation. I am beyond disappointed that we in Australia, a first world country, can treat its hard working, tax paying, law abiding citizens in such a way. Still on the waiting list for 150 days (with months of waiting still expected) for semi urgent surgery is not good enough. This matter needs to be addressed so that all patients are fully informed, treated respectfully and are provided with a professional approach in their time of need. 

Many thanks to this website for trying to make a change in the way hospitals operate. 

I hope that this reaches the right person/department and changes can be made to rectify this issue.

With thanks.

Responses

Response from David Plunkett, Chief Executive, Eastern Health

picture of David Plunkett

Dear nashiraek34,

Thank you so much for sharing your comments and experience to date on Patient Opinion. I am sorry your partner has waited so long and there have been the number of issues while he has been on the waiting list.

In order for us to follow up the particular circumstances regarding your partners experience, I would like to invite you to contact one of our Patient Relations Advisors in the Eastern Health Centre for Patient Experience either by calling 1800 EASTERN or by emailing feedback@easternhealth.org.au. If you choose to call please be aware that it is possible that the Patient Relations Advisors may be on another call at the time you ring and if so you will be invited to leave a message so they can return your call.

I hope we hear from you soon.

Kind regards,

David.

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful