Poor handling of patients

(as the patient),


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About: Patient Assisted Travel Scheme - WACHS Pilbara

- Flights not booked after email being sent in advance.

- Emails not being replied to.

- Sitting on hold for up to 2 hours the day before needing to fly as no contact has been made, hence needing flights to be booked.

- Reimbursements not being paid for up to 3 months and then only paid as have had to call and chase up.

- Refusing to book flights and being expected to sit in Perth for a week between appointments (I have a young family and a job, this can’t happen).

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Response from Brian Wilson, Operations Manager, East Pilbara, WA Country Health Service (WACHS) Pilbara

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Dear FrustratedwithPATs,

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. I note you have raised similar issues as another author, to whom I responded the other day, and so many of my points below will be the same.

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.

I hope to reassure you that customer service is very important and I have recently ensured all frontline staff have been reminded of the importance of prompt response 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

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