"Does anyone actually care?"

About: Geraldton Hospital / Emergency Department

(as a parent/guardian),

I recently needed to take my child to the Geraldton ED.   I am sharing my experience in the hope that it will make change. However, given that I have had similar experiences in this ED and am aware of several friends putting in previous complaints, I wonder sometimes if there is a point of expressing concerns.   I was under the impression that the Hospital embraced the #hello my name is program.   Well not one single person introduced themselves or said hello.   My greeting at the triage desk was - what can I do for you - without even making eye contact. I felt I was spoken to quite rudely throughout my interview.   I told the nurse that I had previously taken my child to her GP with a temperature and a rash, but that tonight her rash had worsened.   The nurses response was - so what do you want us to check the temperature or the rash?  I looked at her with disbelief and said - all of her.   After the triage and then giving my details to the clerk, I sat in the waiting room.  Whilst sitting in the waiting room for 3 hrs 45 minutes waiting, I observed what I believe can only be described as a great lack of compassion and limited professionalism displayed by both nursing and admin staff.   One lady approached the clerks desk and asked how long the wait would be as she was in great pain and the clerk replied in what I felt was an extremely loud, sarcastic tone - well I wouldn't be able to tell you, you need to go to the next window.  The nurse at the next window told the lady to - take a seat we are busy and you aren't the only one here.   I then had to endure listening to staff discuss their social habits.  I know that we all do this in a workplace, but it went on for quite some time and certainly gave the impression that things weren't busy and not really professional from my point of view. I was eventually called through the back door and was put into an examination room with no further communication. Half an hour passed and still nothing. I had no idea what was going on....had they forgotten about us?   It was this point I thought I might as well just leave, they clearly don't think that my child is urgent so perhaps I should just go.   Eventually the doctor came in the room and apologised.   He asked me what the problem was and literally 30 seconds into me explaining the issues the phone rang and he answered it without even an excuse me.   He then sat on the phone for a minute smiling and laughing and then hung up and said continue.   I started to continue again when a nurse entered the room and asked the doctor to review a patients results.   No excuse me or anything just completely talked over the top of me.   No one was listening to me.   In the end my child was fine and I took her home.   I have seen the previous responses to Patient Opinion and that is to ask the person to contact the Manager of the Hospital.   I don't want to do that, I have done that prior and nothing seems to have changed.   What I want is for the hospital to implement changes to improve the way staff deal with the public.   They require training in how to be respectful and to have some compassion for sick people who come to the hospital for assistance.   Please tell me, as a community member, what is the hospital doing about improving their customer service?   I have used the complaints process prior and that has not obviously made a difference.   I provided feedback once before and got a very templated letter telling me how important my feedback is.   If my feedback is important how come nothing has changed?    In my opinion, if you want to make a difference invest time and money in training staff and making them accountable for their poor behavior.   People don't need the lack of compassion on top of already feeling vulnerable and ill.   I am sure that staff have the best of intentions, but that is not evident based on my experience.  


Response from Michele Young, Coordinator Executive Services, Executive Services, WACHS-Midwest nearly 2 years ago
We have made a change
Michele Young
Coordinator Executive Services, Executive Services,
Submitted on 30/07/2018 at 17:57
Published on Care Opinion on 31/07/2018 at 09:22

picture of Michele Young

Dear bestfootforward

Thank you taking the time to share your experience on Patient Opinion. I was disappointed to read your story and I am so very sorry that you and your child have experienced our service in this way. It does not meet our commitment to providing high quality person centred care and providing the best possible experience with our health service. Please be assured that we take your feedback very seriously and your story has been passed on to our Executive team for review.

Timely and effective communication is key to a positive health care experience and is essential to ensure safe continuous care and should start with a simple introduction. WA Country Health Service Midwest implemented the “Hello my name” initiative a number of years ago. This very important initiative is about making a connection between a person who is unwell and vulnerable, and another person who is there to help, which is the start of a relationship that can instantly build trust in difficult circumstances. This is the first step towards providing truly person centred, compassionate care. It appears based on your experience that we need to do some further work and I have spoken to our Regional Patient Safety & Quality Coordinator who has advised that the “Hello my name” initiative will be reinvigorated in the coming weeks.

You have also provided an opportunity for us to reflect on the importance of empathy, kindness and basic manners. It is so important for us to see our health service users as a person first before an illness, bed number or the reason they are using our service.

I can also advise that customer service training will be explored for our broader organisation which will look at providing the skills to respond to our patients/health service users needs in an appropriate manner. Your story and others like it will be shared with staff and management through meetings and forums and we will increase the number of staff who receive alerts when a story is posted on Patient Opinion. Staff have also been spoken to around communication and how they contribute to the patient experience. I will continue to keep you updated on improvements as they are implemented.

Learning from experiences like yours is an important part of continuous improvement for our service and we would really love the opportunity to speak with you to see what we can do better and where we can improve. There would be a number of opportunities for you to be part of the solution, one of which would be for you to speak to our staff and share your experience which could be a powerful teaching tool in providing the best possible patient/consumer and carer experience. I can be contacted on 9956 8695 or 9956 2291 or Michele.Young@health.wa.gov.au - you can still remain anonymous if you wish. We will of course respect your decision should you choose not to make contact.

We don’t always get it right and I acknowledge that there is work to be done in this space. Again I sincerely apologise for your experience with our service.

Thank you again for sharing you and your child's experience with us, it has given us an opportunity to reflect and improve our service going forward.

I wish you and your family the very best and I do hope to hear from you soon.

Warm regards


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