Red flag for pa­tient care

The Sunday Times - - NEWS - SUE DUN­LEVY

AUS­TRALIA’S pub­lic and pri­vate hospitals have been found want­ing by a shock­ing sur­vey that re­veals pa­tients are be­ing left in pain and of­ten get no help go­ing to the toi­let.

Half of all pa­tients in pub­lic hospitals and one in three pa­tients in pri­vate hospitals say they were left in pain, a na­tional Med­ibank pa­tient sur­vey has found.

Fewer than half the pa­tients in pub­lic hospitals got help with a bed­pan or go­ing to the toi­let as soon as they wanted.

In pri­vate hospitals, four in 10 pa­tients did not get help with the toi­let when needed.

Med­ibank sur­veyed more than 11,000 of its mem­bers who had a hos­pi­tal ad­mis­sion be­tween July 2016 and July 2017, ask­ing them 31 ques­tions about their care. It wants to use the sur­vey to drive im­prove­ments in pa­tient care and give mem­bers the in­for­ma­tion they need to choose the best hospitals.

To date only ag­gre­gate data is avail­able but within 12 months the scores will be pro­vided to Med­ibank mem­bers on a hos­pi­tal-by-hos­pi­tal ba­sis.

“These find­ings re­veal a dis­turb­ing level of poor and even un­safe care and should not be tol­er­ated by any hos­pi­tal,” a spokesman for the Consumers Health Fo­rum said.

“Now we need to see the re­lease of in­di­vid­ual hospitals’ per­for­mance fig­ures to drive bet­ter pa­tient care,” he said. The sur­vey found:

ONLY half of all pa­tients say they got help when they pushed the nurse call but­ton.

MEDICINE side-ef­fects were not ex­plained prop­erly by staff to two in three pa­tients in both pub­lic and pri­vate hospitals.

THE pur­pose for tak­ing each of their med­i­ca­tions was un­der­stood by only 55 per cent of pa­tients.

ONLY half of all pa­tients rated the area around their room as al­ways quiet at night.

SEVENTY per cent say nurses lis­tened care­fully and ex­plained things well.

EIGHTY-EIGHT per cent thought doc­tors treated them with cour­tesy and re­spect.

ONLY 36 per cent strongly agreed staff took their pref­er­ences into ac­count in de­cid­ing what their health­care needs would be when they were dis­charged.

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