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"Need to be assessed first, before we're told of the wait."

About: Austin Hospital / Emergency Department Box Hill Hospital / Emergency Department

(as a relative),

My partner and I recently had to attend the Box Hill Hospital emergency department. Unfortunately for us, we attended at a very busy time – we knew when we left to go there, that it would be busy, but due to the pain my partner was in, and had been for several hours, we couldn’t wait any longer. So knowing it would be busy, we knew there would be a wait. What I couldn’t believe was what happened when we first arrived. The first staff member we met said to us, If this was a hotel, we’d have the ‘No vacancy’ sign up. I said, that would be great if we were trying to check into a hotel. The staff member then said, there will be a minimum wait of at least three hours, and most of that will be in the waiting room. Now I could see the staff member was clearly under pressure, and I’m not trying to get anyone into trouble, but what I couldn’t believe was that this was said, before anyone had even looked at my partner. There had been no triage, so how would they even know how long the wait would be. If they had assessed my partner first, before telling us that there was a three hour wait, I might have understood it better. They didn’t even check what was wrong. As it was, we decided we’d go to Austin Hospital, and the first thing they said was, are you in a lot of pain? Then the first thing they did was manage the pain. We still had to wait, but at least my partner had been assessed, and they dealt with the most immediate need, relieving the pain my partner was in, which made it easier when we saw people go in ahead of us. We understand some people’s needs are greater than ours, but they had attended my partner so that we didn’t mind waiting for a more in depth investigation.

As I said, I could see the staff were under pressure, but I think it’s important to at least assess the situation first.

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Response from David Plunkett, Chief Executive, Eastern Health 7 years ago
David Plunkett
Chief Executive,
Eastern Health
Submitted on 17/02/2017 at 5:53 PM
Published on Care Opinion on 20/02/2017 at 2:24 PM

picture of David Plunkett

Dear Not checking in

Thank you so much for taking the time to provide your feedback on Patient Opinion. You have provided very balanced comments regarding how you and your partner were treated when you came to the Box Hill Hospital Emergency Department.

Please accept my apologies for the way you were treated. This is certainly not the way we would like to be treated ourselves. We have been focusing on staff being courteous and kindness and it is obvious this wasn't your experience.

I trust your partner is on the road to recovery and whilst the person who spoke with you when you first arrived will not be singled out, I would like to use your experience to highlight the importance of all staff to practice with courtesy and kindness.

Many thanks again and kind regards


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