03 May 2023

The vast majority of patients in NSW public hospitals during the height of COVID-19 rated the care they received highly despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic.

NSW Health Deputy Secretary Adjunct Professor Matthew Daly said almost nine in 10 patients in NSW public hospitals rated their experience of care highly between July 2021 and June 2022 according to the latest Bureau of Health Information Emergency Department Patient Survey.

Prof Daly said the overwhelmingly positive ratings were a clear testament to the fantastic efforts of the staff across the state's public hospitals who worked so hard during such a difficult time.

"The NSW public health system is recognised as one of the best in the world, providing safe, high-quality care to more than three million people who visit our emergency departments throughout the state every year," Prof Daly said.

"The results reflect the dedication of our strong healthcare workforce who worked hard to adapt health services during the COVID-19 pandemic, while also balancing unprecedented demand, additional infection control measures and high numbers of staff furloughing."

Almost 22,000 people were surveyed about their experiences of care in NSW EDs during the time, with a vast majority of patients (88 per cent) rating their overall care as 'very good' or 'good'.

The BHI Healthcare in Focus report, also released today, shows the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the public healthcare system in NSW.

At the height of activity in 2022, patients continued to rate paramedics care very highly, with almost all (98 per cent) saying their care was 'very good' or 'good'. Demand for ambulance services reached unprecedented levels in 2021 and 2022, with sharp rises in the most serious triage categories.

Elective surgery was also impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic, with non-urgent and some semi-urgent elective surgery suspended several times between 2020 and 2022 to ensure sufficient hospital capacity was maintained to respond to the pandemic and to protect patients and staff.

Importantly, all urgent elective surgery in NSW continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with almost all procedures performed within clinically recommended timeframes. NSW public hospitals also performed about 100,000 emergency, non-elective surgeries during 2021-22.