"Over four hour wait with no help"

About: Northam Health Service / Emergency Department

(as the patient),

I went to the ED with severe headache, dizziness, nausea, low blood pressure and bruising. As I have multiple health conditions and had been started on a new medication, I contacted health direct and was told to present to the ED. I did this, at about 5.45. After taking details I was told to go and sit in the waiting area. And wait. And wait. Eventually I was given a tablet for nausea and 2 panadol and told to keep on waiting. There was nowhere to lie down, so I was slumped in the chair. People were coming in with McDonalds and coffee, the smell of which was making me feel even worse. In my opinion, the staff had obviously decided that there was nothing wrong because I was left waiting longer than others, including a toothache and a non bleeding foot wound. They would only say they did not know what was wrong with me and to wait. Eventually they did give me a blanket as I was cold and shivering. And told me to wait. It was after 10 pm  when I could not take it any longer. My head felt it was splitting (I told them it was worse) and I needed to lie down. I went to the desk and told the nurse I could not keep sitting there as it was not helping and I needed to lie down. She said they would get to me, so I told her that I had been waiting over 4 hours, was worse than I arrived, and  just wanted to go to bed. She said I could go if I wanted, but they would eventually get to me.They told me they did not have any sort of diagnosis yet and they could not get to it if I did not stay. I got taken home in a taxi, vomited, went to bed, and slept for 13 hours, waking up nearly as bad as when I went to the ED initially. I am not bothering to go back, as I feel obviously I am not considered worth looking into, and feel that lying in bed with water is going to do me more than hours sitting upright in a chair getting worse. I still do not have a diagnosis, but I am hoping it is nothing more than some type of migraine. If they had said they would only give me a panadol and make me sit over 4 hours in the waiting room I would not have bothered to worsen my condition.


Response from Sean Conlan, Regional Director, WA Country Health Service - Wheatbelt nearly 2 years ago
Sean Conlan
Regional Director,
WA Country Health Service - Wheatbelt
Submitted on 05/11/2018 at 18:55
Published on Care Opinion on 06/11/2018 at 09:59

Dear not a happy patient

I was concerned to read of the issues and the poor communication you experienced with the Emergency Department at Northam Health Service.

We would like to investigate the issues you have raised and wish to speak with you directly about your experience.

I invite you to contact Trenton Greive, Operations Manager Western Wheatbelt on (08) 9690 1315 or email Trenton.greive@health.wa.gov.au or Carolynne Ryan, Patient Opinion Coordinator on (08) 9621 0708 or email Carolynne.ryan@health.wa.gov.au so we can discuss this further.

Our aim is to improve your experience, but also that of other people attending the ED department.

Once again, I am sorry your experience was not a positive one.

Best wishes


  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful

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