Whanganui DHB a top scorer in new national inpatient experience survey

Positive feedback from Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) patients who participated in New Zealand’s first inpatient experience survey has seen the WDHB score top place in two of the survey’s four categories.
WDHB customer relations and complaints coordinator Sue Penfold says the WDHB was delighted to top the leaderboard with 9.3 (out of 10) for the way in which it meets inpatients’ physical and emotional needs and 8.9 for its coordination of care between clinical and support services.
Ms Penfold thanked those who participated for their willingness to respond to the survey which she says was sent to them through the post or to their cell phone. “Clearly the response rate from our community had a significant impact on the result for the WDHB,” Ms Penfold says. “The fact we had the fourth highest response rate among the country’s 20 DHBs, says a lot about our community and the way people here feel about their hospital.”
For the partnership category which looks at how DHBs encourage and support participation and collaboration in decision-making by patients, consumers, carers and families/whanau, the Whanganui DHB was given 8.5 - just .2 below Nelson Marlborough’s top score of 8.7.
And in the fourth category which looked at how DHBs communicate and share information with patients, consumers, carers and families/whanau, Whanganui DHB scored 8.3 – .3 below top scorer Canterbury DHB’s  8.6.
Ms Penfold says it was pleasing to see that between 26 August and 19 September of this year, the sample of hospital patients nationwide who rated their experience during their last stay in hospital gave an average rating 8 out of 10 for each of the four categories.
Commission Director Health Quality Evaluation Richard Hamblin says patients also answered 20 detailed questions, including whether they understood the advice they were given by their doctor, whether they were involved in decisions about their care and treatment, and whether they were treated with respect and dignity by hospital staff.
Mr Hamblin says DHBs can use the survey, including the more detailed responses received, to quickly identify and begin to address any issues with hospital care. He says while health care is generally of a high standard, it’s important to learn from the incidents where people do have negative experiences.
“The results will help DHBs make improvements in care and give the public valuable insights into the performance of their local health services,” Mr Hamblin says.
The next national survey will take place from the week of 24 November 2014, for three weeks. Close to three million patients a year attend New Zealand public hospitals.