"My experience with PATS"
About: Patient Assisted Travel Scheme - WACHS Goldfields Patient Assisted Travel Scheme - WACHS Goldfields Kalgoorlie 6430
Posted by blackbirdhz74 (as ),
As a back story, my young child has a long and complicated medical history that started when my child was 4 months old. We have had 4 flights with the Royal Flying Doctors Services and some very long stays in one hospital and a recent stay in the children’s hospital. My child has had a stem cell transplant to treat a genetic condition and requires visits to the children’s hospital every 3 months for appointments with immunology and the transplant team on oncology.
This hospitalisation started at our local hospital and we were treated very well and professionally by the doctor and the nursing staff, we were kept in for the night and flown out the following day. We were treated at the children’s hospital and released a few days later. After a few days in Perth we were readmitted to the children’s hospital and in surgery the next morning. All of this was done with me trying to manage a very traumatised child that is incredibly reactive and upset with any kind of medical procedure, it doesn’t matter how big or small. Once we were discharged it was suggested to us we stay in Perth for a follow up appointment several days later.
When we were done with our follow up and given the ok to come home I requested a PATS form be filled out so that we could make our way home. The doctor filled the form out requesting a flight due to my child being medically unfit to take a 10-hour bus ride home. I called PATS in Esperance to ask them to organise our flights and was met with, what can only be described as, combative opposition. I was treated like I was trying to rip off the system and that there was not a good enough reason to be given flights home. I asked what exactly I had to have on the form to have it approved and was treated again like I was trying to do the wrong thing.
I ended up going to the social worker in the hospital on the direction of the clinic I was seeing and they began the process of trying to work it out with the person in the office. I left it in their hands after 4 hours of waiting at the hospital to find out if I was going to have to organise my own travel or not. I called PATS and asked how they had got along, and again I was met with an attitude that was quiet aggressively unhelpful and combative. I have been through a lot with my child over the years, I have had to fight to be heard with doctors and nurses along the way, but nobody has made me feel as disempowered and dismissed as this member of staff. I ended up in tears on the phone and just giving up completely. Fortunately, I have the means to pay for those tickets myself due to REX airline having cheap seats available, but this trip has been very expensive and I was not asking for anything that we are not eligible for.
My question is, what is PATS if it is not a service that is there to help vulnerable patients and their families at difficult times? Why does there have to be this horrible fight to get travel home in an appropriate way when the doctor has advised it. And since when is it a requirement for the PATS officer to have the run down on the exact reason you are in the care of a hospital? Isn’t that patient confidentiality? Isn’t a doctor’s word enough! Very very disappointed. I will be pursuing reimbursement from someone who has a greater authority and hopefully more compassion.