CLOSING the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal patients remains a priority for Hunter New England Health, as a new survey reveals some wins and losses in Aboriginal care in the region’s hospitals.
A first-of-its-kind report from the Bureau of Health Information has revealed what the state’s Aboriginal patients think of the state’s health system.
Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal patients were surveyed on a number of topics including timeliness, respectfulness, communication, trust and overall experience.
In the Hunter New England health district, the survey showed the biggest gaps in experience between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal patients was in communication.
The report found Aboriginal patients were less likely to say “nurses ‘always’ knew enough about their care and treatment” and the “health professional ‘completely’ explained what would be done in surgery”.
There was also a noticed gap in Aboriginal patient’s impressions on whether their “doctors ‘always’ answered important questions in an understandable way”.
Hunter New England director of Aboriginal health, Tony Martin said overall the results were positive with a Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal experience fairly similar.
“We can’t rest on our laurels, we need to see where we can improve all the time,” Mr Martin said. The gaps in communication would be something to focus on and address, Mr Martin said.
Hunter New England was the only health district where there were no questions with a gap of 10 or more per cent between the demographics.
The Murrumbidgee district had 43 questions with a gap of 10 or more per cent gap. Hunter New England covers one the largest Aboriginal populations in the state. According to Mr Martin, six per cent of the district’s population is indigenous and represents about 23 per cent of state’s Aboriginal contingent.
The Hunter New England district had the highest number of Aboriginal respondents to the survey with 691.
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