Coordination of care

(as the patient),

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About: Sydney / Sydney Eye Hospital / 1 East (Ophthalmology)

I have been attending the Sydney Eye Hospital almost all my life. I have two different problems with each of my eyes. For a number of years (about 20 years ago) I was seeing an eye specialist. I believe he didn't give me the care I needed and as a result I went blind in my right eye. I was in tears at the time and my husband told me I should call the Sydney Eye Hospital to ask if they would take on my care, as I had been there as a child. They retrieved about 50% of my sight, which I am forever grateful for. I am still considered blind in that eye, but some sight is certainly better than none. 

I have always found the staff to be marvelous. They are lovely and efficient. 

I do have a couple of questions to ask though that would certainly make my life (& perhaps the lives of other elderly people) much easier. 

My husband or my brother used to drive me to my appointments, but I have now lost both of them. I recently organised community transport to be able to attend an eye appointment. The time they told me they could pick me up meant that I would be late for my appointment. I called the eye clinic to talk to someone about this and I waited almost an hour before I could speak to someone. I felt very frustrated by this time. The person I spoke with was very pleasant and told me to ring 10 minutes prior to arriving to my appointment to let the staff know I would soon be there. I told him that I had just waited an hour before getting through, so how could I get through to tell someone I'm 10 minutes away?

Most of us older people can't afford to wait that long on our pre-paid mobile phones, so we need to use our landlines. By the time I got off my landline in my kitchen I was frustrated, stiff and cold, after waiting so long to get through.

For my most recent appointment I made my own way to the hospital via public transport from the outer suburbs, so I wouldn't be late. But this was quite an ordeal. When we book community transport we have to accept the drop off and pick up times, which don't always work for our appointment times and often means we have to wait for long periods after our appointment. This can be an all day thing. 

Because I have two different eye problems I need to attend two different clinics for each eye. My appointment for my next eye is only a couple weeks away, which means I need to go through this process again. I asked the doctor if they could make my eye appointments 6 months apart. Because I am on my own I feel safer having 6 monthly appointments, because even though I attend two clinics for different issues, they still always check both eyes. The doctor I saw most recently said he can't change my appointment that is in a couple of weeks because it's with a different clinic. 

I know these are only small things, but they make a big difference, especially for older people. 

Surely someone can arrange to have one eye checked at one clinic and then the other checked in 6 months time at the second clinic. I would feel much safer considering I am virtually blind and it would also be less tiring to go through the transport issues if it wasn't so close apart. Is there anyone who can help me with this? 

I otherwise have no complaints about the hospital. I can't thank them enough. 

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Responses to this story

Response from Jennie Barry, General Manager, Prince of Wales/Sydney/Sydney Eye Hospital

Dear Care coordination

Thank you for sharing your experiences over the years with the Sydney Eye Hospital. Your feedback is very valuable to us as and we would like help you with your most recent concern, the next clinic appointment. Please contact us with your phone number on this email SESLHD-SSEHExecutiveServices@health.nsw.gov.au and we will contact you directly.

Kind regards

Jennie

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