Stepdaughter complains Busselton Health Campus like ‘solitary confinement’ with broken communication system

Suzanne AstonBusselton Dunsborough Times
A Perth resident says her stepfather’s stay at Busselton Health Campus was like “solitary confinement”.
Camera IconA Perth resident says her stepfather’s stay at Busselton Health Campus was like “solitary confinement”. Credit: Breanna Redhead/The West Australian

A Perth resident who was unable to call her stepfather during his recent lengthy stay at the Busselton Health Campus said it was like he was in solitary confinement.

Jackie Hawkins from Bayswater told the Times her stepfather was unable to communicate with his family while staying at the health hub, where he was isolated due to a COVID infection.

She said because of a broken system there was no TV or phone for him and other patients, which left the man bored and distressed during his stay.

“He is dyslexic and cannot read, so he was completely cut off,” Ms Hawkins said.

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“In his two-month stay I was only able to talk to him by phone once, and this is quite frankly very frustrating.”

The Busselton Health Campus uses a patient entertainment system, which doubles as a clinical computer, and enables patients to access television, radio and internet 24-7.

A Busselton Health Campus spokesperson confirmed the PES was not currently working but they were working to rectify the issue.

The Times understands the systems have been broken for some time, with other patients and relatives making complaints on the online portal Care Opinion.

“My sibling is an inpatient at the Busselton Health Campus and they are unfortunately quite frequently there,” one said.

“This time none of the TV’s in the rooms were working and apparently have not been working for some time. My sibling is bed bound and relies heavily on the TV for their entertainment.

“I know this is very much a first world problem, but for them it is a big problem. Surely in this day and age of technology I feel it shouldn’t be too hard to fix the problem.”

Representatives from the Busselton Health Campus, and from the WA Country Health Services replied.

On two occasions, both representatives said “the repair of the system does remain a priority. The team here will continue to escalate this to find a solution as soon as possible.”

No indication of repair time has given.

The touch screen system is available in all in-patient rooms and can also provide patients with basic health and hospital information.

When the Busselton Health Campus opened in 2015, the PES was touted as assisting doctors by providing state-of-the-art bedside health information.

Vasse MLA Libby Mettam said it was unacceptable the key telecommunication issues appeared to have remained unresolved after many weeks.

“I have raised the issue with the Department of Health, seeking further information and attention to the matter,” she said.

“While I acknowledge that patient care is the first and foremost priority for health workers, having access to reliable communications for patients is critical to their recovery, wellbeing and ability to keep in touch with family and I implore the Department of Health to address it as a matter of urgency.”

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