Hospitals given tick of approval

THE North Coast Area Health Service has been given top marks in the report of a state-wide patient survey released yesterday.

The report, Insights into Care: Patients’ Perspectives on NSW Public Hospitals, breaks down the responses of 20,000 hospital patients to a survey in 2009.

Care experiences profiled in the survey include: overall ratings of care, staff teamwork, courtesy of nurses, cleanliness of the room and availability of nurses.

“There is no area health service in NSW that out-performs others in all dimensions of care experiences, though NCAHS is a high performer in most dimensions,” the report says in its summary.

Figures specific to Grafton Base and Maclean District hospitals were not available in the Bureau of Health Information document, with the explanation that “patient data from smaller hospitals are reported as a group, since statistically valid estimates of performance require a large number of people to complete surveys”.

Instead, Clarence Valley hospitals were grouped into “Other North Coast”, while Coffs Harbour, Lismore, Port Macquarie and Tweed Heads received their own survey results.

Figures for the North Coast include:

38 per cent of overnight patients rated the overall care as excellent, 36 per cent rated it as very good, 18 per cent rated it as good, 5 per cent rated it as fair and 2 per cent regarded it as poor.

46 per cent of day-only patients rated the overall care as excellent, 36 per cent rated it as very good, 14 per cent rated it as good, 3 per cent rated it as fair and 1 per cent regarded it as poor.

These compared favourably with all state figures relating to overnight and day-only patients. Bureau of Health Information chief executive Dr Diane Watson said patients considered teamwork as the factor most likely to influence how they rated their care.

Separate figures released by NSW Health this week showed Grafton Base Hospital’s emergency department saw 1925 patients in March this year.

This was an impressive figure considering Lismore Base Hospital, which services a far higher population (44,448 in 2006) and is resourced accordingly, saw 2591 emergency patients in March.

Figures from the Clarence Valley Council website show the Grafton area (including South Grafton, Copmanhurst, Jackadgery, Junction Hill, Coutts Crossing and Ulmarra) had a population of 22,675 people in 2007.

Other interesting March 2010 emergency attendance figures include:

Coffs Harbour 2896, Bathurst 2127, Manly 1876, Blacktown 3019, Liverpool 5344 and John Hunter 5660 (highest in NSW).



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