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Regional hospitals in NSW poorly ranked by patients

While district hospitals receive a tick of approval, the state’s regional hospitals rate poorly in new consumer scorecard.

Some of the major public hospitals in regional NSW are among the lowest rated for outpatient care in the state, a survey has found.

The opinions of more than 6500 outpatients on 50 public hospitals across the state have been released in the Bureau of Health Information's Patient Care Experiences report.

The report said major non-metropolitan hospitals, including Dubbo Base Hospital, The Tweed Hospital and Lismore Base Hospital, are "over-represented" in the lists of low ratings on various criteria.

"Half of all major non-metropolitan hospitals were among the 10-lowest rated hospitals in the state," it said.

Meanwhile, some district and smaller hospitals fared the best, with Wyong, Camden and Bowral district hospitals receiving excellent ratings.

Overall, the report is good news for NSW hospitals, with outpatients - people who visit a hospital for an appointment but are not admitted - giving their treatment a thumbs up.

Thirty-two per cent said their overall care was excellent, 34 per cent rated it as very good and 25 per cent as good.

Only seven per cent described their experience as fair and two per cent said it was poor.

Bureau chief executive Diane Watson said the report would show hospitals where they could improve.

"Finding out what matters most to patients, shows hospitals the key areas they should target to ensure more people have positive experiences and few have negative experiences," Watson said in a statement.

Patients listed camaraderie among staff members, organisation, short waiting times and the courtesy of reception staff as key factors in ensuring positive feelings towards treatment.

The feeling that they were receiving complete or comprehensive care was the single most important factor influencing patients' ratings, the survey found.

Parking availability and lack of information about why an appointment was delayed were identified as areas for improvement, with 57 per cent of patients complaining they were not given a reason for a delay.


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