• Aboriginal treatment in hospitals now being recorded (AAP)Source: AAP
For the first time a report has looked into the experience of care from an Aboriginal perspective, in New South Wales.
Hannah Hollis

10 Aug 2016 - 3:01 PM  UPDATED 11 Aug 2016 - 10:39 AM

The survey, conducted by the Bureau of Health Information in 2014 gathered responses from 1 in 10 Aboriginal people across the state.

Chief Executive Dr Jean-Frederic Levesque of Bureau of Health Information said overall the results of the survey were positive.

“We can see that 89 per cent would rate the care as very good or good” he told NITV.

While most Aboriginal patients rated their care as either very good or good, there was significant variation in experiences for interpersonal aspects which include respectfulness of staff, privacy and responsive communication.

“Many of the gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal experiences of care can actually be closed in the future if we consider that local health districts have been able to achieve very high levels for Aboriginal patients”

Key Findings:

In more than half of the survey questions in the report, Aboriginal people answered significantly less positive than non-Aboriginal people.

The widest gaps in responses were seen in questions about privacy and being given understandable answers to important questions.

“That relates to ensuring enough privacy is given to patients if they are to be examined or if they have to talk about their symptoms or their conditions” Dr Levesque told NITV.

  • 23%  of Aboriginal people said health professionals did not discuss their worries or fears with them
  • 22% of Aboriginal people say they experienced a complication of care
  • 16% of Aboriginal people said adequate arrangements were not made for services after being discharged from hospital.

In addition to surveying Indigenous and non-Indigenous patients, the questionnaires looked at the experiences of Aboriginal people across districts in NSW.

Hunter New England, Sydney local health, Southern NSW illustrated no gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal experiences and rated highly for all Aboriginal people across the state.

However, areas of Western New South Wales and Murrumbidgee identified more gaps in and a lower experience of care on some of the measures.

How it worked?

Surveys were sent out in 2014, after patients were randomly selected from hospital databases to ensure a ‘representative sample’. People would fill out the survey voluntarily and send it back.

Dr Levesque said until this report, they have not had enough information from Aboriginal people to specifically reflect on their experience.

“It was really necessary to increase the number of Aboriginal patients contacted, so that we would have strong information to give back to the system” he told NITV.

What happens now?

The report is sent to ‘frontline clinicians’ and ‘frontline managers’ for them to look and try to influence quality of experience in care in the future.

Dr Jean-Frederic Levesque said while the report focused on NSW ‘it would be great to be able to compare with different states and try to learn from other states experiences.’

“What’s really important is for those who are in charge of quality improvement and those in charge of improving the experience of care to look at the results and try to find areas where improvement could be made In their own areas but also learn from other areas that seem to be achieving good experiences of care for Aboriginal people and having lower gaps for when we compare with non-Aboriginal people. 

Young care-leavers reconnect with Indigenous identity
Indigenous kids are almost 10 times more likely to be in out-of-home care, but now, a group of young people who've left the care system are trying to rediscover their culture and community.
Darwin hospital accused of racial profiling in Gurrumul Yunupingu treatment
The manager for Indigenous singer Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu said he 'feared the worse' after his longtime client was allegedly left bleeding for eight hours at Royal Darwin Hospital on Easter Sunday.