Ninety-five per cent of patients admitted to small, rural hospitals across NSW between June 2019 and June 2020 have rated their experiences of care very highly, according to the latest Bureau of Health Information survey.
Almost 4,500 patients provided feedback on their care in the Hospital Adult Admitted Patient Survey 2019-20, reporting overwhelmingly positive experiences across every aspect of the survey.
The overwhelming majority of patients (95 per cent) rated their overall care in small, rural hospitals as 'very good' (78 per cent) or 'good' (17 per cent).
NSW Health Deputy Secretary Dr Nigel Lyons said the survey results are an incredible compliment to the staff and services at some of the smallest hospitals across the state, whose care and professionalism are second to none.
Dr Lyons also said half of the survey period occurred during a very challenging period for the people of NSW, and their healthcare services, dominated by drought, bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This survey shows the patients admitted to our rural and regional hospitals appreciate the quality of care they receive from our dedicated health professionals, with 95 per cent of people rating their overall care very positively," Dr Lyons said.
"More than nine in ten patients (91 per cent) said they were always treated with respect and dignity, and more than seven in 10 patients (76 per cent) said the care they received was very well organised, key aspects of our commitment to providing patient-centred care.
"The survey also shows our focus on continuity of care is making a difference, as the majority of patients (76 per cent) said they definitely felt involved in decisions about their discharge and 80 per cent said they were given enough information to manage their care at home."
Patients were also asked if they received any telehealth services in the three months following their discharge from hospital. More than one in 10 patients (13 per cent) did and, of those patients, almost all (92 per cent) said they benefitted from the ease and convenience of telehealth services.
Since 2011, the NSW Government has built or upgraded more than 130 hospitals and health facilities across the State. A further 80 projects are currently underway and more than two-thirds of those are in rural and regional areas. Since 2011, the NSW Government has increased the health workforce by 24,614 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) or 25 per cent. A further 8,300 frontline staff are being added over this term, with 45 per cent going to the regions.
The record 2020-21 $29.3 billion NSW Health budget includes $8.3 billion for Local Health Districts in rural and regional areas.