The new entrance to the Lismore Base Hospital has been unveiled.
The new entrance to the Lismore Base Hospital has been unveiled. Cathy Adams

Our hospitals worst for meeting future challenges

HEALTH staff have rated the Northern NSW Local Health District the worst in the state for making necessary decisions to meet future challenges, a new report has shown.

Northern Rivers health workers are also the second most critical of their workplace culture in the state, behind Western Sydney.

For the percentage of health employees who say they received appropriate training to be effective, the Northern NSW Health District has tied as the worst with the Mid North Coast.

Graphs from the Bureau of Health Information's Healthcare in Focus report
Graphs from the Bureau of Health Information's Healthcare in Focus report

Northern NSW Local Health District chief executive Wayne Jones said the results, which came from a 2015 staff survey, indicated there were areas for improvements.

He said these areas have since been examined to determine whether the issues were site-specific or on an organisational level.

“The 2016 YourSay Workplace Survey is currently being conducted, and we won’t have the results for several months,” Mr Jones said.

“However when looking at the 2015 survey results, there were improvements in several specific sites, as well as in the discipline of Mental Health and across the Richmond Community Health Network.

“It was very pleasing to see that in Richmond Community Health Network for instance, in comparison to the last YourSay Workplace Survey in 2013, there had been a significant increase in morale, and a 25% increase in positive responses to the question: ‘I believe the culture of my workplace has improved in the past 12 months’.”

Mr Jones said as the new chief executive he was keen to develop strategies which will improve the relationship and communication between senior management, staff and clinicians across the Local Health District.

Graphs from the Bureau of Health Information's Healthcare in Focus report
Graphs from the Bureau of Health Information's Healthcare in Focus report

The state-wide health district comparison was published in the Bureau of Health Information’s annual report Healthcare in Focus 2015, released Wednesday.

The report compares NSW’s healthcare performance to 11 countries and other Australian states and territories.

While NSW is doing well overall, the report shows healthcare varied for people from disadvantaged, low socio-economic areas.

This included median waiting times that were almost 100 days longer for non-urgent elective surgery in public hospitals during 2014-15.

Disadvantaged areas also had higher rates of hospitalisations for chronic diseases and vaccine-preventable conditions, potentially reflecting poorer patient care in the community.

There’s also a lower five-year relative survival for a range of cancers in NSW.

Graphs from the Bureau of Health Information's Healthcare in Focus report
Graphs from the Bureau of Health Information's Healthcare in Focus report

Bureau of Health chief executive Dr Jean-Frederic Levesque said many other countries spend more than NSW on health but have worse outcomes.

“More than three quarters of patients in NSW who used a public hospital said the care and treatment they received in hospital definitely helped them, which is a good result,” Dr Levesque said.

“NSW does well on a number of healthcare measures but it does not compare as well on others, so there is room to improve.”

The report includes data from the NSW Health Department’s YourSay Workplace Culture Survey 2015 which has individual reports for each health district in the state.

Statistics from the 2015 YourSay Workplace Culture Survey
Statistics from the 2015 YourSay Workplace Culture Survey


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