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"The Good and Bad of Hospital Emergency Department"

About: Bunbury Hospital / Emergency Department

(as a carer),

As I understand it, our GP had exhausted all avenues in investigating my partner's recent health issues. They have many immune system issues and currently are suffering from an almost constant bout of infections (chest and urine). Our GP was concerned enough to request that my partner be admitted to Bunbury hospital for a "full workup", as our GP felt that they had gone as far as they could.

We got to the ED at around noon and there was no indication that ED was full of emergency cases - I feel they need to notify patients on their arrival or have an LED board announcing wait times - this did become apparent after waiting over an hour to be seen.

This started the good part of our visit, we were seen by a couple of doctors who started the investigations and took blood (a very difficult case with my partner usually needing an ultrasound to find a vein). I feel the Doctors involved were excellent, after approx another hour we were taken for an x-ray of my partner's chest, again the radiographers (one a student) were excellent.

We then had to wait again for an ED doctor to arrive and this is where it went downhill fast. The doctor looked through the notes provided by the GP and asked questions about what had occurred resulting in our GP's request. Following this, they listened to my partner's chest and said that they could hear a little crackling.

My partner asked about some water tablets they were on and this ED doctor said that this was for heart failure (first we had heard of any heart issues). The doctor also pointed out that the swelling of my partner's legs was also a symptom of heart failure. No mention of the seriousness of this issue, in fact, I felt it was ignored by them. Surely if there was, in fact, heart failure should my partner not be admitted?

The doctor then went to see their boss and came back stating that there was nothing they could do, they wouldn't organise the necessary CT/echocardiogram as this was the responsibility of an upcoming visit to a Gerontologist (my partner is only in their 60s but is being investigated for Parkinson's) or our GP.

They then had, I feel, the gall to say that they would be writing to our GP and giving our GP a slap for the actions the doctor had taken with the GP request. We said the doctor had better not. In my opinion, how unethical is this and why would they suggest this when our GP was seemingly doing their job (unlike, I believe, this ED doctor and their boss). They also stated that as my partner's oxygen stats and BP were perfect that there was no medical reason that the ward doctors would admit my partner.

In my opinion, what sort of hospital are they running when a GP was worried enough to request a patient was admitted only to be rubbished and then we essentially get turned away, basically we felt that my partner fell into the too hard basket.


Response from Jeremy Higgins, A/Operations Manager Bunbury Hospital, WACHS South West last month
We are preparing to make a change
Jeremy Higgins
A/Operations Manager Bunbury Hospital,
WACHS South West
Submitted on 12/05/2021 at 09:43
Published on Care Opinion at 09:46

picture of Jeremy Higgins

Dear marchbk76,

Thank you for sharing your care experience at the Bunbury Hospital Emergency Department.

I am pleased to hear the good aspects of your experience, but I am very sorry to hear about the not so good elements. Having a sick family member is a very worrying and stressful time and it is the role of the hospital to provide professional, clear and compassionate care to all patients referred to the Emergency Department (ED).

You have done the right thing in seeing your GP first and it is entirely appropriate that your GP referred you to the ED for care. Your feedback about the waiting room experience is very important. We have recently started a meet and greet person to support patients and their families in the waiting room during the day, and we will also look into your suggestion of an LED board.

It sounds like you received the right care by the first doctors and radiographers you saw, which is the excellent standard of care we need to be striving for with every care experience. Thank you for this feedback. The experience you described after this, however, is not one I am proud of. I offer my sincere apologies for the poor communication regarding your diagnosis and care plan and for the discussion regarding your GP’s actions in referring you to hospital. We clearly have to do better. Our leadership team in the ED is committed to improving every care experience and have been given this feedback.

I would also like to let you know about a service we have called CARE Call. This is a way for our patients, families and carers to receive or call for urgent assistance when they are concerned about a patient’s health and feel that the healthcare team has not fully recognised their changing health condition. If you ever need to use this service, it is available 24/7 by calling 1800 744 059. Your call will be answered by a senior member of our staff who, after listening to your concerns, will take action to address these. For example, they may contact the treating doctor or other members of the healthcare team to ensure you or the person you are concerned about is assessed and any necessary changes to the treatment plan are carried out. The person who receives your call will keep you updated as to what action has been taken.

I would like to get your details so we can investigate what occurred thoroughly. If you are happy to, please call me on 0438 062 341. Alternatively, you can call our Customer Liaison Officer at Bunbury Hospital on 9722 1521 and they will be happy to support you.

Once again, thank you for reaching out to us. We really want to prevent this experience occurring for another patient and their family.

Jeremy Higgins

A/Operations Manager

Bunbury Hospital

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