North Coast residents are even more complimentary than last year about the public health care they receive at local hospitals and community health centres, according to the detailed results of the NSW Health Patient Survey 2008.

The survey, conducted on a Statewide basis by an independent consultancy, shows that 90.4% of North Coast patients had a positive response to the overall care they received.

The 90.4% positive response rating, which combines the responses of ‘good, very good or excellent’, also showed a slight increase (0.3%) over the North Coast’s 2007 result and was ahead of the NSW average result of 89.1%.

An increase over last year was also registered in the number of patients who would strongly recommend NCAHS services to their families and friends.

For the second year running, more NCAHS patients would recommend local services than patients in other parts of the State.

“Given the high number of older people using health services, the results were especially good in the 60-plus years age group, which recorded a 95% positive response,” NCAHS Chief Executive, Chris Crawford (pictured), said.

“I am delighted at the survey findings and attribute the credit to the 6000-plus NCAHS staff who have brought about such a positive result.

“This is a testament to the skills and dedication of our doctors, nurses and Allied Health workers, as well as to the important Support Staff they depend upon.”

The results were taken from 10,371 surveys completed by North Coast Area Health Service patients after they received medical or nursing care in various settings, including Emergency, Inpatients, Rehabilitation, Outpatients and Community Health.

The responses were more positive than the NSW average in every category, and rose to as high as 96.8% for treatment at Community Health, 95.7% for paediatric services and 95.4% for Adult Rehabilitation services.

The categories and positive feedback scores were as follows –

  • Overnight inpatients: NCAHS 91.5% (NSW: 88.4%)
  • Day Only Inpatients: NCAHS 94.9% (NSW: 92.9%)
  • Paediatric Inpatients: NCAHS 95.7% (NSW: 92.8%)
  • Adult Rehabilitation Inpatients: NCAHS 95.4% (NSW: 89.9%)
  • Non-admitted Emergency Patients: NCAHS 85.5% (NSW: 82.8%)
  • Community Health Patients: NCAHS 96.8% (NSW: 95.5%)
  • Outpatients: NCAHS 92.3% (NSW: 91.4%).

The criteria for determining the overall evaluation of care were –
Access to Care/Patients’ Preferences/Family and friends/Emotional Support/Physical Comfort/Continuity & Transition/Co-ordination of Care/Information & Education.

CE Chris Crawford said: “This thorough evaluation by an objective research organisation proves beyond doubt that the great majority of people who receive public health care from North Coast facilities have a very good experience.

“We’re very pleased with the feedback but I can assure the community we will not be resting on our laurels. We will continue to strive to improve our performance and make changes where necessary.

“Modern health care is a constantly evolving challenge, with a major emphasis now being on encouraging healthy lifestyle practices and keeping people out of hospitals unless absolutely necessary.

“That is being recognised as Australia’s leading public health challenge, and it will receive increasing attention in the future.”