"Wait times for service"

About: Broome Health Campus / Allied Health Broome Health Campus / Paediatrics

(as a service user),

I write to express my frustrations regarding the services available to my child over the past few years at Broome Hospital.

My child was referred to the Occupational Therapist (OT) initially a few years ago and was accepted early the following year. They were reviewed each term and I felt I was pressured by the OT at the time to agree to my child's discharge at the end of pre-primary. This was despite my child sitting below average in all of their assessments.

My child was re-referred to the OT early last year. At this time, I was advised there was a long wait but no further re-conditions. We attempted our own interventions, including private tutors and school recommendations with limited effect; the school psychologist was involved but in a limited capacity due to my child's age and no diagnosis.

Recently, my child was referred again to the OT by their teacher who I believe has increasing concerns. I was then advised by the OT that my child is now too old to be a priority (despite not being too old two years ago) and had dropped down the list despite a new referral.

We have now been waiting for 18months to access an OT. My child is currently receiving unsatisfactory grades at school, despite trying their hardest. My GP recently called the OT department who confirmed the longer wait due to my child's age and suggested a referral to the Developmental Paediatrician. The OT also informed my GP that even if my child is seen by them, they will likely only have the capacity to see them once or twice and that we would need to find alternative options.

A referral was made by my GP to the Developmental Paediatrician at Broome hospital and the Senior Medical Officer has triaged them as a category 3. This is a wait of 365 days to see a doctor. 365 days for a child who is currently failing at school, and has already waited 18 months to see someone to get a likely diagnosis, so as appropriate interventions can commence.

The school psychologist hasn’t got capacity to see my child yet, but has said they will be able to expedite their assessment if my child has an appointment with paediatrician waiting.

I called PATS to see if they could assist with travel to Perth to see someone privately due to the long wait time. They advised that because there is a service in Broome they will not assist with travel. My understanding of PATS is that they assist with accessing services in metro areas if the wait times are excessively long. I can get into a developmental paediatrician in Perth within 6 weeks but the costs of the appointment and the associated airfares are astronomical.

In my opinion, this is the very definition of the health system failing my child and my family. I feel we have done absolutely everything that has been asked of us, we have never failed to attend appointments previously made and I feel frustrated and sad at the potential outcome of this failing on my child's education.


Response from Wendy McKinley, Operations Manager, Broome Hospital 2 weeks ago
Wendy McKinley
Operations Manager,
Broome Hospital
Submitted on 24/07/2020 at 11:22
Published on Care Opinion at 11:37

picture of Wendy McKinley

Dear concernedparent18

Firstly, please accept my sincerest apologies for the challenges you have had in accessing health services for your child. Your experience sounds really quite traumatic and highly frustrating, and I am truly sorry.

I am also sorry for the delay in responding to you, but I want to let you know that this issue has been discussed at our Executive and myself (responsible for PATS), the Director of Kimberley Population Health Unit (responsible for OT) and the Regional Director of Medical Services (responsible for specialists) have been working to understand the issues here.

We are keen to speak with you about this experience and to look at opportunities to resolve this issue for you and your child, as well as for others who may be in similar circumstances.

I would really encourage you to contact me on 9194 2855 or via email at wendy.mckinley@health.wa.gov.au

Thank you for your post, concernedparent18; we are always looking to review and improve the quality and timelines of our services and understanding the lived experience is key to that.

I am looking forward to hearing from you soon.



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