Accessing Specialist Services and Sharing of Information with GP

(as a relative),

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About: Neurosciences Unit

My mother travels to Perth from her home (4.5hr one way trip) to consult with Neuroscience Services, as she has Huntington's Disease. Being elderly this is very taxing on both my parents as it requires a day travel, overnight stay and then another day driving home with consult lasting at best 15 minutes. 

Have requested consult via Telehealth so that Mum's local GP can be involved in the discussions and ongoing care planning - this was done once but the acoustics in the Neurosciences room was so bad that on-one was able to clearly hear what was being discussed. To date no further consults via Telehealth have been able to be set up, as I understand the Neurosciences team is unable/unwilling to provide this service.

Repeated requests for information to be forwarded / shared with local GP has never happened, so Mum's GP is dependent upon my Mum & Dad giving updates rather than a shared care plan for ongoing treatment between Neurosciences and GP. Mum has a regular monthly GP meeting to ensure ongoing care is provided with Dad as the primary care-giver updating the GP with sharing of information rather than GP/Specialist collaboration. 

There is a Neurosciences Nurse / Practitioner in Albany, but they have no information from Neurosciences on Mum's treatment or ongoing care needs.

Given that we are to work collaboratively with professionals in the partnership of patient care, the system is failing my parents in this instance.

The local GP is doing a great job, but is frustrated that no information is forthcoming from the Neurosciences team on Mum's treatment or care plans.

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Responses to this story

Response from Roslyn Elmes, Executive Director, Mental Health, Public Health & Dental Services, North Metropolitan Health Service

Dear Huntington,

Thank you for sharing your story regarding your experience with the North Metropolitan Health Service (NMHS) Neurosciences Service. I am sorry that the service provided has not been meeting your expectations.

Some clinical assessments and reviews need to occur face-to-face, but our services aim to utilise Telehealth where possible. I encourage you to contact the Neuroscience Unit to discuss your concerns. You can do this by contacting the Director of the Neuroscience Unit on (08) 9347 6464 or email neurosciences@health.wa.gov.au or the Stakeholder Liaison Officer on (08) 9242 9612 or email feedback.NMHSMH@health.wa.gov.au. We hope this will enable your mother’s care to be managed in a more collaborative manner with her local service providers, and via Telehealth, where possible.

The North Metropolitan Health Service is dedicated to providing specialist, patient-centred care and your feedback will enable us to continue to improve this focus.

Kind Regards,

Roslyn Elmes, Executive Director, Mental Health, Public Health & Dental Services, North Metropolitan Health Service

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