About: Patient Assisted Travel Scheme - WACHS Pilbara Patient Assisted Travel Scheme - WACHS Pilbara South Hedland 6722
More a collection of stories of ongoing issues. I feel there is a repeated failure of Patient Assisted Travel Scheme (PATS) staff to:
- Respond to emails.
- Process reimbursements in a timely manner (it took 12 months for one of my claims to be processed).
- Book flights in a timely fashion leaving patients forced to travel late at night or early in the morning because the cheaper fares have been sold out. This then makes it more difficult to access public transport and forces up the out of pocket expense.
And throughout this, I feel there is really poor customer service when you call their office. I don't particularly care that they have '1200 emails in the inbox', it is not my job to make their processes more effective. I feel that WACHS really needs to look at their staffing levels or at their staff productivity.
Responses to this story
Response from Brian Wilson, Operations Manager, East Pilbara, WA Country Health Service (WACHS) Pilbara last month We are preparing to make a change
Thank you for sharing your story on Patient Opinion. I am very sorry to hear about your experiences with the Patients Assisted Travel Scheme (PATS) and in particular with the Pilbara PATS office.
Firstly I would like to apologise for the frustration and inconvenience you have experienced and accept that this has been across several domains of interaction: email and telephone communication; process delays with reimbursements; and delays with travel arrangements.
You are correct to point out that "it is not (your) job to make their processes more effective" and again I apologise when your contact with the Pilbara PATS Office is met with excuses or attempts to justify delays, which are clearly my responsibility to recognise and resolve.
I hope to reassure you that customer service is very important and I will ensure that all frontline staff are reminded of always being kind and courteous in their communication with clients.
Your experience with the Pilbara PATS Office is not acceptable and does not reflect the experience WA Country Health Service wishes to provide to our clients and the community we serve.
We have received other feedback, similar to yours, and so over recent months: additional staff have been recruited and trained; we have introduced roster change and resource to process reimbursements, increasing reimbursements processed weekly and reducing delays; and have improved the process for the review of applications introducing a senior staff review if the application does not clearly meet the eligibility criteria.
The difficulties you have experienced are recognised and further process and service improvements are planned. I will provide further information and updates regarding these service improvements in the coming days along with a timeframe.
I would also like to offer you the opportunity to get in contact with me directly so I can investigate your specific case/s further. I can be contacted via email on WACHS-Pilbara.Feedback@health.wa.gov.au or on telephone number 91741040.
Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback, as feedback is invaluable in assisting to deliver the best care and services in the best possible way.
Brian Wilson | Operations Manager East Pilbara