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A greater patient experience voice for Aboriginal people

A greater patient experience voice for Aboriginal people

BHI is actively expanding efforts through our NSW Patient Survey Program to allow a greater voice for Aboriginal people about their experiences in public hospitals – providing important information to healthcare professionals that they can use to help improve care.

We ask tens of thousands of people each year about the healthcare they receive, allowing us to provide valuable insights not only into the experiences of patients across NSW but also individual groups, including by age, education, socioeconomic background, and Aboriginality.

Most recently, our latest Snapshot report, Aboriginal people’s experiences of hospital care, profiles what more than 1,000 Aboriginal people told us about the care they received in our Emergency Department Patient Survey 2017–18 and Adult Admitted Patient Survey 2017.

What we found is that while overall care received positive ratings from most Aboriginal patients, when the survey findings were compared with those for non-Aboriginal patients, significant differences emerged. These included important areas such as being treated with respect and dignity, communication with health professionals and interactions with patients’ families.

The Snapshot report provides important information about the experiences of Aboriginal patients at a statewide level and, of note, produced similar findings to our 2016 report, Patient Perspectives: Hospital care for Aboriginal people.

While NSW-level results are of significant value, we also understand the importance to communities and healthcare professionals of more localised patient experience information.

To facilitate this, BHI has partnered with the NSW Ministry of Health’s Centre for Aboriginal Health (CAH) to ask more Aboriginal patients than ever about their experiences in NSW hospitals.

Throughout 2019, and for the first time, every adult patient who identifies as Aboriginal will be invited to provide feedback on their admitted patient or maternity care experience. This will allow us to report in 2020 on the experiences of Aboriginal patients at hospital and local health district (LHD) level, and present trends over time.

The three-year collaboration between BHI and CAH – known as the Aboriginal Patient Experience Survey Program and guided by an expert advisory committee – will feature a number of initiatives to help inform improvements to healthcare for Aboriginal people in NSW.

Inviting patients to provide feedback about their experiences is only part of the work – it is also vital that we encourage them to respond. BHI, in collaboration with CAH, has also developed a suite of promotional materials for LHDs and other health services to raise awareness of the Aboriginal patient experience survey and tell them about the value of responding.

In addition, a tailored survey questionnaire is being developed for use from 2020 to ensure Aboriginal patients have the opportunity to provide feedback on experiences that are particularly important to them.

Find out more about the Aboriginal Patient Experience Survey Program.


Page updated: 25 Feb 2020
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