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"Service engagement feedback regarding AHLO and social work dept."

About: Royal Perth Hospital / Eye Diseases and Surgery (Ophthalmology) Royal Perth Hospital / Social Work Service

(as a staff member posting for a patient/service user),

I am a Senior Aboriginal person with a visible disability and walk with a walking stick. I want to remain living with as much independence as possible. Felt the service was incompetent (AHLO and Social Work Dept.). I believe workers did not identify the position in which they worked and so I did not who I was actually speaking with except their name.

Recently I was told by my doctor that I was not allowed to drive due to medical conditions with my eye sight. I wanted to meet with a Social Worker to investigate possible support. I rang and spoke to reception at social work and asked to speak with a social worker. The receptionist put me on to a staff member. This staff member advised me to just pop in on the day of the eye clinic appointment.

I was concerned, worried and distressed and wanted to find out what support can be offered if any. To date; I have not had a reply or any communications around what support they could offer, if any. Also, I on the day had an injection to my right eye, which lowered my sight visibility. I thought that maybe they would offer to walk me to the taxi rank, this did not happen and they just pointed toward the front door and said there were plenty out there. No follow-up to see how I was going, and given the circumstances I thought it would be offered. I wanted to see if there was any support I could get to continue living independent.

The staff member gave one suggestion regarding the taxi users subsidy scheme.

They interviewed me in the walk way which I felt uncomfortable about as there was no privacy and I was pouring out my story to them. Other people within hearing could hear me and also see me, which made me feel awful for even going there. Like I just wasted my time seeking assistance. (made me feel like a dumb blackfella). I just wondered how they engage with sick patients.

While being interviewed, another staff member, I felt, looked at me like I was an alien or they could not comprehend what I was asking. I wanted to find out about possible care packages I could access due to my medical condition.

Outpatient appoint with Eye clinic was more recently and I also met with those two staff members on the same day. To this day I only found out through others that those staff were apparently AHLOs.

I feel that the nurses in the eye clinic were more cultural appropriate than the AHLO service. The clinic is quite busy but I always feel welcomed and comfortable and always felt respected. The staff member who does that eye scan is really friendly and approachable. The doctor that does the injection makes me feel very comfortable because of how they treat me. I feel they treat me like a person. I have been going to the clinic for over 8 years. I still get anxious about having the injection but the doctor is so lovely and always communicates professionally and engages with me as a human.


In my opinion, it would be good to find out from them if they even investigated my concerns around the care package or even if they could assist. It would be good to even get a phone to say they could not assist or support me. That would be okay if they can't I just want them to let me know if they can help or not.

Currently I am trying to do all of this myself with the recent outcome regarding my sight from the doctor. It would be great to get some feedback or support; even if they could refer to appropriate services.


Response from Lesley Bennett, Executive Director, Royal Perth Bentley Group 3 months ago
Lesley Bennett
Executive Director,
Royal Perth Bentley Group
Submitted on 14/06/2021 at 13:40
Published on Care Opinion at 14:24

picture of Lesley Bennett

Dear engagement2021,

Thank you for taking the time to share your story with us. I am saddened to hear of your recent encounter with our Social Work and Aboriginal Health Liaison Officer (AHLO) department. It is really important to us that patients receive the highest quality of care and that this is delivered with compassion. The story you describe indicates we fell short on this occasion.

It is disappointing to hear your multiple concerns, not just related to the lack of information offer to you but also the communication and lack of thought in assisting you in your onward journey. I would like to reassure you that your feedback has been passed on to the appropriate manager who will take your feedback seriously so that we can improve the service we provide to our patients and the community.

We respect your choice if you would like to remain anonymous; however, if you would like us to investigate this matter to ensure that you gain the service you need and so that others do not encounter the same challenges, we encourage you to contact our Consumer Engagement Unit on 9224 1637 from 8 am to 4 pm Monday to Friday or email:

I will personally pass on your kind words to the Ophthalmology department who will be delighted to share this with their team.

I wish you all the best with your ongoing healthcare needs.

Kind regards,

Lesley Bennett

Executive Director

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