Survey gives tick of approval to health service

By Alex Easton

PUBLIC patients have given the North Coast Area Health Service a big tick of approval.

The health service yesterday released a statement claiming 90.1 per cent of more than 9000 patients surveyed last year said they’d had a positive experience in the local public health system, compared with a State average of 88.1 per cent.

However, Lismore Base Hospital Medical Staff Council spokesman Dr Chris Ingall questioned the quality of the survey, pointing out that only 42 per cent of 22,000 patients sent survey forms had bothered to return them.

Putting that reservation aside, Dr Ingall said the result was a ‘great hurrah’ for staff.

“Hats off to the nurses, occupational therapists, allied health people and doctors who are the point of contact with patients, because they are obviously doing a good job in adverse circumstances,” he said.

Health service chief executive Chris Crawford also chalked up the results to the efforts of the service’s staff of more than 6000.

“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,” Mr Crawford said in the statement.

“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.”

The survey found the service ‘performed significantly better than the State average on all measures concerning facilities and amenities, with the exception of the availability of parking’.

The health service was yesterday unable to provide a full copy of the survey report. However, it said it scored highly on adult rehabilitation, with a 97 per cent approval rating; among day-only inpatients, 96.8 per cent; and among community patients, 96.7 per cent.

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