"My appointment checkup was forgotten about... Again!"

About: Fiona Stanley Hospital

(as the patient),

After being moved to Fiona Stanley Hospital because my area code didn’t fall under the bracket to stay at Royal Perth (even though they were sending appointment letters to my new address which apparently did), I spent the first few sessions with confused staff and nurses because I believe my files were lost during the transition. 

I recall at one point waiting for several hours only to find that the person I was appointed to had already left or wasn’t working that day. I’m not sure what the excuse was then.

On another occasion, I was called an hour before my appointment saying that it had been cancelled but had already begun my one and a half-hour commute (two trains, two buses) to get there. I had been unmedicated for over a month and needed a doctor to fill out a script for me and after three hours of constant nagging to the staff I finally got someone to fill out a script. 

Recently, to save some time and money on my journey I had a friend drop me off on their way to work nearby at a train station along the way to shave off 40 minutes of time spent travelling. It meant I would be at Fiona Stanley early but I didn’t mind sitting there with my coffee and just amusing myself on my phone. My appointment time passes and I had already seen the room fill up with people twice and leave so I went to the desk and asked the staff what’s happening with my appointment. After running around trying to find my papers I get told to sit back down for another long wait and after that the staff realise that the person I’m seeing is not even there today... I mean couldn’t have someone told me this when I checked in? Couldn’t someone have contacted me to tell me my appointment time was incorrect or cancelled? 

The staff on at the time apologised numerous times but at the end of the day I spent a good many hours journeying and waiting at the hospital only to be told sorry, we forgot about you again.

Responses

Response from Neil Doverty, Executive Director, Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group, South Metropolitan Health Service We are preparing to make a change

picture of Neil Doverty

Dear circinuskf97,

I was concerned to hear of your experience accessing outpatient appointments at Fiona Stanley Hospital. In particular, it was concerning to hear that you required a medication script and were unable to get it filled. Whilst I was glad to hear that you were eventually able to access a medication script, I recognise that this should not have been such a difficult task.

I apologise that the transition from Royal Perth Hospital to Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) did not go smoothly for you. There was a large volume of patients transitioned to FSH when it opened and, on some occasions, hard copy medical records from other sites were not able to be released or patient summaries were not available as electronic documents.

Where clinics are cancelled on the day it is due to short notice of unplanned sickness and the outpatient clerks make every effort to contact patients as soon as they are made aware of the cancellation. We do have better systems in place for patients who require time critical reviews, particularly where medication reviews are scheduled.

Specialty medical staff are not available in outpatients unless rostered to a scheduled clinic. On the occasion you describe where the clinic was cancelled, the outpatient clerk would have needed to track down one of the doctors to review your records and medications and write up the prescription which may have accounted for the delay you experienced.

When clinical staff are on leave or not available, clinics are suspended unless someone else has been scheduled to see the patients in that clinic.

It sounds like we got things completely wrong at your recent experience and I would like to investigate this further with your permission. Please contact us on 6152 4013 if you would like us to look further into what happened and respond more fully.

I do recognise that there are improvements to be made in a number of facets of our outpatient services. We are embarking on an outpatient improvement strategy and are undertaking a number of initiatives to streamline processes, minimise cancellations whilst also making the most out of the clinical resources that we have.

Once again I apologise for your experience and encourage you to contact us. You feedback will assist us in developing our improvement strategies.

Warm regards

Neil Doverty

Executive Director

Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group

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