Page 272 - Week 01 - Thursday, 12 February 2015

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Hospitals—patient satisfaction

MRS JONES: My question is to the Minister for Health. Last week the federal Productivity Commission released its annual report into the performance of health services in all Australian states and territories. Once again, the ACT had the overall worst patient satisfaction results anywhere in the country. On 12 ratings of satisfaction levels measured across emergency department visits and hospital admissions, Canberra patients were the country’s most dissatisfied in 11 measures and second unhappiest in the 12th. Minister, why do we have the most unsatisfied patients in the country?

MR CORBELL: I thank the member for her question. What I would say is that these are factors difficult to measure, but what we do know is that one of the areas where we perform the best, which is directly related to issues of satisfaction, is in the area of the need to be readmitted following treatment in the hospital. We have the lowest level of readmission of any patient cohort in the country—

Mr Hanson: Point of order, Madam Speaker.

MADAM SPEAKER: Point of order.

Mr Hanson: I know it is early days, but Mrs Jones’s question was clearly about patient satisfaction, not about patient readmission rates. I would ask the minister to be directly relevant about the Productivity Commission’s report, which said that we have the least satisfied patients in the country.

MADAM SPEAKER: Can we stop the clock, if you are going to continue to speak to the point of order, Dr Bourke?

Dr Bourke: On the point of order, Madam Speaker, the minister has been into his answer for only 15 to 20 seconds. I have already heard him say “patient satisfaction” on at least two occasions that I can recall. I think he is being relevant and I think he is being to the point.

MADAM SPEAKER: I will remind the minister that the standing orders do require him to be directly relevant. He did mention patient satisfaction but then went on to talk about readmission rates. I would ask him to come back to patient satisfaction as quickly as possible in the remaining three minutes.

MR CORBELL: Thank you, Madam Speaker. It is important to make the point that the connection between patient satisfaction and whether or not people get quality care is an important one. One of the main ways that we measure quality of care is whether or not patients are readmitted, following their stay in hospital.

We have one of the lowest levels of readmission—indeed, the lowest level of readmission—of any state or territory in the country. These are complex matters, but when it comes quality of care I am absolutely satisfied that we are achieving some of the best outcomes in the country.

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