‘We’re in dire straits’: Mandurah grandmother’s healthcare worries

Speaking out: Mandurah grandmother June Henderson is worried about the Mandurah health care system and her elderly friends. Photo: Carla Hildebrandt.
Speaking out: Mandurah grandmother June Henderson is worried about the Mandurah health care system and her elderly friends. Photo: Carla Hildebrandt.

A 77-year-old Mandurah grandmother has spoken out about her frightening experience in the Peel Health Campus emergency department (ED), two-and-a-half years later, because she said the hospital was “in dire straits” and was “getting worse”.

June Henderson, who has diverticular disease, moved to Belswan retirement village to be close to the hospital, but has since lost faith in the health system, she said.

June said she was made to wait bleeding heavily from her rectum and in pain, for about four-hours in the health campus ED, on the evening of September 23, 2015.

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She said her daughter was told they would have to wait for another two hours to be seen, so she went home to shower and sleep because she was “feeling weak and dizzy”.

June’s doctor called the health campus the following day about the incident, and the staff member told her to return to the ED, where she was was admitted for two days, she said.

Two weeks later, she was admitted to the health campus again for similar issues, and was told by a doctor she would have to return at a later date for a colonoscopy.

“They didn’t know when I could get a colonoscopy there because the wait list was so long,” she said.

Rather than wait for an appointment, June booked an appointment in Perth through her private health insurance.

“Luckily I had private health insurance, because so many people here don’t,” she said. “It’s not fair on people here who don’t have it.”

June said about six-weeks later, she received a phone call from Peel Health Campus saying she could have a colonoscopy in a further two weeks time.

She did not submit a complaint in 2015, and decided to speak up now because she said it had become evident the health campus “desperately needed more resources”.

“The staff are wonderful but we’re in dire straits here,” she said. “Imagine what it will be like in ten years.

“I’m really worried...I have friends in here (the retirement village) and they’re worried. It’s just going to get worse.

“As were getting older, we’re going to need more and more care.”

Peel Health Campus spokesperson Annie Palmer said colonoscopies were categorised according to clinical urgency.

Ms Palmer said the ED, like other hospitals, experienced peak periods.

“As is the situation with most other hospital emergency departments, the ED at PHC experiences two peaks in attendance at around 10am and 4 to 5pm,” she said.