Thursday, 28 May 2015

Hospitals, polyclinics leave more patients satisfied

By Salma Khalik, Senior Health Correspondent, The Straits Times, 27 May 2015

HOSPITALS and polyclinics continue to please, with 79.1 per cent of patients last year saying service was either good or excellent, up from 77 per cent in 2013.

An annual survey by the Ministry of Health also found that 81 per cent received better service than they had expected, up from 79 per cent the previous year.

In fact, 82 per cent of respondents said they were likely to recommend public healthcare institutions to others.

The ministry said that respondents cited quality of doctors, quality of nurses and waiting time as the three most important factors when giving their ratings.

The survey of more than 11,000 people between September 2014 and January this year found that patients were happy with service attitudes and found healthcare staff to be "knowledgeable and professional".

It looked at all public hospitals, polyclinics and specialist centres.

"Respondents were also happy with the transfer of their medical information from one service point to another, as well as the follow-up by staff after they were discharged," added the ministry.

Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) topped the hospital category with 86 per cent of patients happy with the service there, while Changi General Hospital received the least votes with 71 per cent saying they were satisfied with the service there.

Mrs Chew Kwee Tiang, KTPH's chief executive officer, said the hospital aims to provide care that is "good enough for our mothers".

She noted that with the ageing population, the hospital is seeing more patients with multiple chronic conditions at its emergency department.

Thus her target is to help people living in the north, which is the catchment for the hospital in Yishun, to understand better how to stay healthy and manage illnesses, so they can be "proactive in managing their health".

The Institute of Mental Health continued to top the specialist centres, though the 88 per cent of patients happy with its services was three percentage points lower than in 2013.

The National University Cancer Institute ranked the lowest with 73 per cent satisfied, compared to 81 per cent last year.

SingHealth polyclinics in the east overtook the National Healthcare Group (NHG) with a six-point jump in patient satisfaction - from 78 per cent in 2013 to 84 per cent last year - while the NHG polyclinics slipped slightly from 82 per cent satisfaction to 81 per cent.

The best polyclinics according to patients are Yishun, Woodlands, Marine Parade, Clementi and Toa Payoh.

More than nine in 10 people said they were willing to recommend them to their friends.

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