In the last three months of 2019, Bairnsdale Regional Health Service (BRHS) received 109 compliments from patients and visitors to the hospital, and 33 complaints.
That feedback spanned a wide range of issues and situations, from positive or negative interactions with staff, scheduling of services and treatment, quality of care, or the availability and presentation of patient information.
When someone provides feedback to BRHS, whether through the paper forms available at the hospital, or online, it is collected by staff in the Quality and Safety team, who make sure the feedback reaches the appropriate people.
If there’s an urgent issue, BRHS staff contact the person that submitted the feedback and try to address the problem.
“Getting feedback from the community is hugely important to BRHS as it helps the organisation understand where it needs to improve, and what is working well for consumers,” says Julie Small.
Julie is the Chairperson of BRHS’ Community Advisory Committee.
The Community Advisory Committee is made up of local people that are passionate about health care services in this community, and it provides a vital sounding board to make sure the needs of the local community are always at the forefront of everything BRHS does.
In their quarterly meetings they review all the feedback that patients and visitors have provided, road test new publications and information materials to make sure they are consumer-friendly, and contribute ideas and suggestions about how to improve services at BRHS.
Julie says that while BRHS has made improvements in recent years in soliciting feedback and contributions from local people, she is keen to see that work continue.
“It’s definitely easier than it’s ever been to submit a compliment, complaint or suggestion at the hospital, with forms and boxes in prominent places around the hospital, plus feedback forms on the website and facebook page,” Julie says. “But I would like to see us do a better job of reaching out to people in the community, to ask them what they think of the hospital, to try and get a better understanding of what the perceptions are out there.”
Toward that goal, the Community Advisory Committee recently launched a survey to gauge the perceptions of local people that have not been frequent users of the health service.
BRHS volunteers canvassed opinions of people outside a range of community places such as Dahlsens Hardware on Dalmahoy Street, and an online survey was distributed via email and social media.
“I think what we learned is that BRHS has a bit of a public perception problem,” Julie says. “The feedback we get from people that have actually used the health service recently is often very positive. But people that haven’t had any interaction with BRHS recently, and are going on what they hear or what they experienced some time ago, continue to have negative perceptions about the service.”
“We need to do a better job of engaging those people, and find ways to communicate to them the improvements that have been made.”
All community members are encouraged to take the survey at www.brhs.com.au/communitysurvey
If you’re interested in the Community Advisory Committee and would like to know more, call 5150 3414, email firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contact form at www.brhs.com.au/contact-us