The hospital will have up to three triage nurses working in busy periods to prioritise patients more efficiently and minimise queuing.
The change has come after the Times’ sister paper the Weekender published a story on February 21 citing concerns from Quinns Rocks resident Vanessa Vandeleur that long waits in line were difficult for sick emergency patients to endure.
The story prompted almost 20 responses from residents with similar complaints after it was published on inmycommunity.com.au.
‘I also experienced this poor system when I attended Joondalup hospital emergency department with food poisoning and had to wait four hours to be seen,’ user David King wrote on February 26.
‘During this time, I was in a lot of pain which only got worse as time wore on.’
Ms Vandeleur suggested a number system so sick patients could sit while they waited for treatment.
Many of the residents’ comments on inmycommunity.com.au agreed with the suggestion.
In response to the comments, JHC director of emergency medicine Cameron Burrows said the hospital had considered a ticketing system but had not yet found one that met patient’s wishes and the need to prioritise treatment.
‘We have previously considered installing a ticketing system, however, we have not yet found a system that meets the wishes of some patients and our need to prioritise patients,’ he said.
Dr Burrows advised future patients to bring a family member or friend with them when attending the emergency department.
‘They shouldn’t drive themselves to hospital if they are feeling very ill,’ he said.
‘If patients are feeling too unwell to stand in line they should advise the receptionist so alternative arrangements can be made.’He said the hospital was trialling the placement of a nurse in the waiting room to not only greet patients, but to start early treatment such as rehydration and pain relief.
JHC medicos treated 88,032 patients in 2012 and are expected to treat more than 90,000 in 2013.'[Janice Teo]In the face of such large numbers, We continually review our processes to ensure we are working as efficiently as possible[Janice Teo] and are listening to feedback from patients and visitors,’ Dr Burrows said.
‘Appointing additional nurses to triage patients is part of this process.’