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"ED care"

About: Northam Health Service / Emergency Department Wyalkatchem-Koorda Health Service / Emergency Department

(as the patient),

A random episode saw me visit the ED’s at both Northam and Wyalkatchem hospitals 3 days in row. I felt the medical care was high quality, the facilities seemed clean and organised, and I believe the equipment was all clean, working, and in good condition. Although, it seemed Northam in particular was very understaffed with an increasing backlog of patients building up, especially, in my opinion, for an afternoon school day. The service counter and waiting room was also seemed quite small for a major rural centre public hospital, making social distancing difficult.

Of the several staff I encountered over these visits, I felt 2 clinicians were quite judgemental and rude, and I believe, with no provocation whatsoever, about personal more than medical matters I felt. Another, in my opinion, very abrupt and dismissive. Unfortunately, in my experiences with public hospitals over the years, I have found that clinicians with quite aggressive attitudes are not uncommon, whether male or female.

I don’t understand how being unprofessional with a patient on any level, is helpful in a frontline health care situation, other than helping you to blow off some steam. I believe unprofessional attitudes from staff will escalate emotions on both sides of a situation, and can, in my opinion, be highly provocative to stressed patients!

I feel that front line health care should never become an unprofessional and/or unproductive battle of personalities and/or wills between staff and patients. I believe health care should be egoless, as should the world we want to live in. So, I think staff need to be regularly reminded, providing they have been educated in the first place, of the fact that personal beliefs, opinions and judgments over others, especially of patients being treated, is not, in my opinion, professional nor productive behaviour, and that, I believe, personal perspectives are not part of health care, period!

I won’t name and I don’t blame the individuals in the system who have and do carry out this behaviour.

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Response from Trenton Greive, Operations Manager Western Wheatbelt, WA Country Health Service - Wheatbelt 2 months ago
We are preparing to make a change
Trenton Greive
Operations Manager Western Wheatbelt,
WA Country Health Service - Wheatbelt
Submitted on 28/10/2021 at 8:54 PM
Published on Care Opinion on 1/11/2021 at 9:41 AM

picture of Trenton Greive

Dear aprilbc68,

Thank you for taking the time to provide valuable feedback on your recent visits to Northam Hospital and Wyalkatchem Hospital Emergency Departments (ED).

I was pleased to read that you found the medical care you received was of a high quality and that you found the facilities and equipment clean. I was however, really disappointed to learn that your overall experience was spoilt by the attitude and behaviour of some of the clinical staff you encountered.

You are absolutely right that unprofessional behaviour does not support good patient care and outcomes. It is critically important that staff demonstrate the highest level of conduct towards our patients and I regret this did not occur for you. I have hand delivered your story to Northam Hospital’s ED Clinical Nurse Manager to make sure that the behavioural issues you have raised are brought to the attention of staff at the next team meeting and taken onboard as part of their ongoing educational requirements to provide high quality care at all times.

Thank you also for your observations concerning the size of the waiting room and staffing levels. Northam Hospital’s redevelopment program enabled the ED to increase its treatment bays from 6 bays to 12 bays and included a larger waiting area. However, I do acknowledge periods of high activity in the department can at times cause some challenges. Please be assured that as part of our planning for Covid 19, there are separate areas designated and currently been utilised from the main waiting area where those patients with flu-like / Covid risk symptoms can wait and enable the appropriate social distancing to occur.

Staffing levels are constantly being reviewed to ensure there are sufficient staffing available, particularly at peak times to ensure safe care is provided to patients attending our ED. This includes reallocating and ‘calling in’ staff when activity requires additional resources. There are times when priority is given to those patients with critical / high care needs that require significant resources, and unfortunately this may result in patients with less urgent requirements waiting longer. The Triage Nurse will ensure those waiting are kept informed of delays. In addition to ensure patients with non-urgent issues are kept informed of wait times, a display screen is currently planned to be placed in the waiting room.

The Health Service Manager at Wyalkatchem has also been advised of your story and will taken the necessary follow up action with staff for that site.

I apologise for the behaviours of some of our staff and trust you have recovered from your recent episode.

Thank you again for bringing these important matters to my attention.

Best wishes


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