A new role at Manning Base Hospital's emergency department (ED) is one measure the hospital is taking to improve the experience of outpatients.
"We've added new roles to our ED nursing workforce at Manning Hospital with the aim of enhancing patient experience in the waiting room, through close monitoring of patients and helping them be more comfortable while they wait," Jodi Nieass, general manager, Lower Mid North Coast Sector and Manning Hospital, said.
"The recent recruitment of a Patient Experience Officer will also improve communication and flow through the ED waiting room by keeping patients regularly updated on their care and their expected wait times to see a clinician."
A Bureau of Hospital Information (BHI) survey of emergency and admitted patients found 13 areas of "significant decline" in patients' experience at Manning Hospital.
BHIs 'Healthcare in Focus' report analysed patient experiences over a five year period from 2014-15 to 2018-19.
The report showed three areas where the inpatient experience at the Taree hospital had "significantly improved."
"While we acknowledge there are always areas where we can improve, it's great to see Manning Hospital had some very positive feedback in the survey," Ms Nieass said.
"We saw improvements in areas related to communication, including ensuring patients have information about who to contact if they become worried about their health when they return home.
"The percentage of admitted patients at Manning who agreed their religious or cultural beliefs were always respected by hospital staff also improved by three percentage points since 2014."
Twelve of the 13 areas of "significant decline" related to patient experience in ED. These survey questions related to communication between health professionals and patients, pain management, hospital signage and time waiting.
"We have been working for some time to improve patients' experiences in the ED," Ms Nieass said..
"Work has also commenced to identify interior and exterior improvement opportunities, including visibility of signage. A new neon light outside the front of ED will also assist patients in more easily locating the ED.
"I want to thank all our staff for the great work being done to improve patient experience at Manning Hospital, and we are confident this will be reflected in the results of the next survey."
The 2019-20 Budget for Hunter New England Local Health District (HNELHD) was around $2.4 billion, an increase of nearly $72 million on the previous year. The NSW Government will invest $2.8 billion to recruit a record 8300 frontline health staff over the next term, with HNELHD anticipated to receive more than 970 new staff.
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