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"Ongoing issues with systems and processes in A&E"

About: Angliss Hospital / Emergency Department

(as the patient),

Normally, I attend Outpatients Clinic at Box Hill for neuropathy, ENT, and Respiratory. On balance they have been excellent. Box Hill is 20kms from me, but Angliss is 5 mins away.

Recently, I had a second oesophagus dilation performed by a certain private doctor. Medically this was performed perfectly. I did expect some side effects as warned, but not dry retching and nausea. After 24 hours of this, I decided to try Angliss A&E.

Being not in great condition and unable to walk, I got wheeled in. After a while, the triage nurse saw me. In my opinion, they seemed totally inexperienced and had another colleague whispering in their ear and pointing out what to enter. They seemed more focused on COVID-19 than the patients. I am a senior citizen, have had both Astra-Zeneca shots and had to have a negative COVID test pre-op.

I did not have a high pain level, and they seemed to dismiss my general lack of wellbeing, and gave me a sick bag. At that stage, I was parked in a wheelchair, but no one asked me to go to the end and confirm details. At that point, there were only 3 in the waiting room. 3.5hrs later, deteriorating, I asked if there was anywhere I could lie down, and was told, as I recalled, “No, all the beds are full".

Shortly after that, I was asked to move from the wheelchair, as they needed it. I believe no one else in the waiting room needed a wheelchair. By then my leg neuropathy pain was so bad, I called my spouse and left. At that point, another 24 people I believe, had arrived and been checked into the system at the end position.

I am a retired Crisis Mgr with 30+ yrs of assessing crises, and the waiting room is not private. In my opinion, many of those attending could have found a 24/7 GP locally and been assessed and treated easily.

I want to know why no one logged me into the system and left me for 4 hours in a wheelchair.

By the day of writing this story, I was able to contact the surgeon who was in a regional town. They suggested maxelon but obviously found not prescribe from there, and suggested contacting my GP. Under the new regime, unlike the past 30 years, you cannot speak to your GP for 2 mins unless you book a Telehealth appointment which can be 4 days away.

The Angliss Patient liaison line was supposed to operate between 9 and 3, but all I got was a message. Have tried multiple times, even through the main switchboard.

This is the second episode of what I believe is stupidity in terms of process. Some weeks ago, I presented with chest pains around lunch. The triage was quick and my admittance reasonable under the circumstances. ECG’S were done and multiple bloods to check for heart damage. All of this was great, and in my opinion, the issue clearly was not Cardiac. Time was now late in the night. By almost midnight, I had asked to see the doctor on multiple occasions, being told as I recalled, “they are having something to eat" then later, "they are busy". I felt they refused to come and explain what was happening even though it was quiet.

Later, I got a printout of what I believe was the fictitious discharge, and discovered that the process suggested I be referred to someone else and that two phone calls had been made, but this person wasn’t answering. So I would be stuck occupying a needed bed ad-infinitum.

After 4 hours of this, I checked out against the concerns of a cluster of nurses who thought I had been an ideal patient and gave me some panadeine forte for pain before I left.

So, my experience of intermittent occasional visits to Angliss, as a qualified Workplace and Assessment Trainer, I believe the quality of train, empathy, and processes need to be examined as in my opinion, these are deteriorating in a straight line. I have managed/cleaned up issues up to hundreds of millions of dollars, so large organisations are a beast I am familiar with.

Next time [if there is one], my spouse will drive me to Box Hill. Angliss may have flaws, but it is nothing like another nearby hospital where I believe outpatients are treated like cattle and has the reputation of somewhere to die.

Maybe at some point, someone will call me from Patient Liaison.

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Responses

Response from David Plunkett, Chief Executive, Eastern Health 3 months ago
David Plunkett
Chief Executive,
Eastern Health
Submitted on 10/09/2021 at 10:35
Published on Care Opinion at 10:36


picture of David Plunkett

Dear Malamute,

Thank you very much for taking the time to share your experience when attending the Emergency Department at Eastern Health’s Angliss Hospital. I’m sorry your experience was not a positive one, and the previous attendance left you feeling frustrated.

I understand you have had discussions with one of the Eastern Health Patient Relations Advisors and also the Nurse Manager of the Emergency Department. Unfortunately on the day you recently attended, the Emergency Department was very busy all day resulting in longer waiting times. I again offer my apologies this was your experience.

In my follow up of your experience, I understand your GP was able to prescribe some medications to assist, for which, I am so pleased you received the care you needed.

Wishing you the best of health and I hope that if you choose to attend the Emergency Department at any of Eastern Health’s hospitals your experience, care and treatment will be a positive one.

Kind regards

David

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

Update posted by Malamute (the patient)

I did have a frank discussion with the Nurse Mgr of Angliss A&E, who confirmed a trainee was doing triage when I presented. She was unable to explain why with neuropathy, I was asked to vacate the wheelchair as no one else appeared to need it. There apparently was an attempt to call me at the two-hour mark, to do obs, but at that point, I was vomiting in the toilet. She was professional and empathetic.

I am aware of the I constraints of the sector, but in my opinion, Box Hill A&E cope infinitely better at checking periodically on patients, and have at least a perception that the staff empathetically care for the patient's welfare. An occasional “Are You Ok” is the sort of process improvement I am talking about.

Your comment about wishing me the best of health is offensive. I did mention, that I attend Box Hill Outpatients for neuropathy, respiratory and ENT, and go through intermittent procedures there. At my 70s, my health is problematic, and Box Hill do a great job. The objective of my first complaint in 30yrs was to point out the Angliss needs a shakeup.

Frankly, as someone who has managed Crises and Call Centres, I believe that whoever is authoring your response comes across as totally insincere, and in my opinion, gives me no confidence that you are taking the multiple patients' feedback in any serious way. Having been in Senior positions, I believe it is impractical for you to personally respond to all complaints, but this response seems like boilerplate in my opinion, and unlike my discussions with the nurse manager do not in any way, admit there are problems in the system, and that you see any need to improve these.

The responses are actually producing a negative perception that anyone in your office cares. If this is the best that you can do, maybe you take a long hard look at the last feedbacks and responses, and either produce a more empathetic response, or do not respond at all.

Due to the fact my eastern health surgeon was initially doing country procedures, and finding a GP for immediate consultation is impractical, which is the only reason I presented at A&E. I spent a week in extreme pain, and even your Nurse Manager could not work out why someone presenting with abdominal pain and vomiting would not have been given something like Maxalon to relieve symptoms initially. As for being busy, I believe I recalled there were only 3 patients there when I presented.

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