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"Difficulty contacting depts and/or doctors"

About: Princess Margaret Hospital for Children

(as a parent/guardian),

My young child has been a patient of PMH since they were a baby with a fairly rare neurological condition. Part of this condition is seizures that need medication to control and review on a regular basis. The development and future for my child is unknown as this condition affects everyone differently from very mild to severe.

I have had cause to be at the hospital many, many times over the past years for regular MRI's, EEG's, follow ups and other related appointments.

I have been very happy with the actual care that the doctors and nurses provide (only 1 negative experience with 1 nurse) but the administration of the hospital is nothing short of atrocious. I now go straight to the Customer Liaison ladies (who are absolute legends) to get anything done otherwise I believe it is a complete waste of time.

I could go on for a long time about different bad experiences but my main problem at this time is that previously there was a Epileptic/Neuro Liaison Nurse who left the hospital last year. We were waiting to be advised of a contact replacement and as it is now months into the year, even the Customer Liaison ladies could not find out who the replacement is.

We now have no-one to contact to ask neurological questions about my child and haven't for some time. So there is no way to get information about changes in my child's condition to the doctor that treats my child and no way of clarifying issues that relate to their ongoing care. When I have rung main reception to ask for Neurology, the phone either rings out before anyone answers, or rings out when they put me through to the Neurology Dept. When you leave a message but don't receive a return phone call or when you finally get to speak to a doctor they are on the ward, too busy and have no knowledge of my child at all.

I feel it is imperative to have a Liaison Nurse who parents can contact and that person then takes your concerns/queries direct to the doctor responsible for your child. This is what used to happen - why hasn't the hospital bothered to replace the Neuro/Epileptic Liaison and if, by some chance, you have then why haven't you let the patients families know of this?

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Response from Michelle Dillon, Executive Director Princess Margaret Hospital, Child and Adolescent Health Service - WA 7 years ago
Michelle Dillon
Executive Director Princess Margaret Hospital,
Child and Adolescent Health Service - WA
Submitted on 5/04/2017 at 2:45 PM
Published on Care Opinion at 3:58 PM

picture of Michelle Dillon

Dear Frustrated Mum

Thank you for taking the time to post about your experience about PMH. I’m very sorry to hear of the difficulties you’ve faced with the administrative side of the Neurology Department, and I can understand your frustration. You are correct that having a liaison nurse is extremely important and recruiting a replacement has taken significantly longer than expected for the nursing team. However, I can advise that we have appointed a neurology (epilepsy) clinical nurse, who will commence on the 15 May. We also had a complex care clinical nurse start on the 3 April, and have increased our neurology nursing staff to assist with addressing the shortfall. I acknowledge, however, that this has not helped you and your family at this time.

In relation to your comments about the phones ringing out; while this is an extremely busy department, it is alarming to hear that this may be occurring, and I have asked my team to investigate this further. All phones, if not answered, should be diverted to the next phone line.

I am pleased that the Child and Family Engagement team (formerly the Customer Liaison Service) are providing excellent service to you. The team endeavour to meet the needs of the families and work with the staff to provide honest feedback that can prompt change. I'm also pleased that you are happy with the clinical care your child has received.

I have passed your feedback on to our Chief Executive, Professor Frank Daly, who has asked me to pass on his thanks to you for providing this feedback. At PMH we are committed to providing the best possible care for patients and their families, and are very grateful for honest feedback, good and bad, to help us continue to improve. Please know we take your feedback seriously and I have requested team members to look into the issues that you have highlighted.

Thanks again for your post. Please accept my best wishes for your child.

Kind regards,

Michelle Dillon
Executive Director, PMH

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