NSW Patient Survey Program
The Bureau of Health Information (BHI) operates the NSW Patient Survey Program to inform the public, hospitals and government about the experiences of people across a range of health services. Participation in the survey is voluntary. However, completing the survey helps BHI understand the standard of care you received. By returning a completed questionnaire, you are consenting to take part in the survey.
The Health Record and Information Privacy Act, 2002 and the NSW Health Privacy Manual for Health Information allow the NSW Ministry of Health to release limited information to BHI for the express purpose of conducting patient experience surveys. The Privacy Act allows use or disclosure of information without the consent of the person when there is a directly related secondary purpose that is within the reasonable expectations of the person. The Secretary of NSW Health has authorised the Ministry of Health and local health districts to provide information to BHI to allow it to undertake the survey program.
BHI contracts Ipsos Public Affairs Ltd (Ipsos) to conduct the fieldwork (printing, posting and data collection) for the patient surveys. Using patient information supplied by the NSW Ministry of Health, Ipsos mails surveys to people who have recently received healthcare services in NSW. The Ministry of Health randomly selects the patients who are sent the survey questionnaire. Information such as the patient’s name and address is not provided to BHI at any time, so BHI cannot connect responses to the questionnaire with patient details.
For the purposes of mailing, the following information is made available to Ipsos for each person who receives a questionnaire:
- Survey type, e.g. outpatient, emergency patient, etc
- Local health district attended
- Hospital attended
- Title, first name and surname of patient
- Unit/Street Number; Street/Road Name; Suburb; State and Postcode.
These details are kept confidential, used only to send out the questionnaire and are then deleted once the survey is complete. However, for the period that identifiable details remain, people will be able to contact Ipsos through the toll-free Patient Survey Helpline (1800 220 936, Monday to Friday, 9am–8pm), to ask to see their responses, or to request that some or all of their information be deleted.
BHI also undertakes to never report survey responses in a way that allows individuals to be identified. When reporting the results, BHI always groups patients together and does not report if fewer than 30 patients respond to any single question.