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COMMUNICATION AND SATISFACTION WITH HEALTH PROVIDERS
In any transaction with a health provider, the provision of information is an important aspect of communication and patient care.
In Australia, two out of five persons admitted to hospital (40%) were given the choice to be treated as a private or public patient on their most recent admission. Of these, 89% of persons felt that they were given enough information to choose to be treated as a private or public patient. This varied by age, with 96% of persons aged 75 years or over feeling they were given enough information to choose, compared with 84% of persons aged 25-34 (see Table 14).
Also of importance to persons is the way they were treated by health professionals. All persons that had used health services were asked for their perceptions of whether the health professionals they saw over the previous 12 months listened carefully to them, showed respect for them, or spent enough time with them. Overall levels of satisfaction were high, with around 80% or more reporting that they always or often felt that the health professionals they saw listened carefully, showed respect or spent enough time with them (see Table 17).
Levels of satisfaction for health professionals spending enough time with patients was higher for certain services than it was for others. For example, 95% of respondents that had seen a dental professional in the previous 12 months said that dental professionals always or often spent enough time with them, compared with rates for medical specialists at 90% and GPs at 88% (see Table 17).
Perceptions of hospitals and emergency departments (EDs) differed regarding whether patients felt that staff had spent enough time with them. Four out of five persons that visited an ED for their own health in the previous 12 months (80%) felt that the doctors and specialists had always or often spent enough time with them, compared with 87% of persons that had been admitted to hospital. Similarly for ED nurses and hospital nurses, 84% and 88% respectively believed that they always or often spent enough time with them (see Table 17).
Levels of satisfaction also differed by age. Of persons aged 75 years and over that visited an ED in the previous 12 months for their own health, 93% felt that ED doctors and specialists always or often spent enough time with them, compared with 73% of those aged 25-34. Similarly, 93% of persons aged 75 years and over, and 78% of persons aged 25-34 who had visited an ED felt the ED nurses had always or often spent enough time with them (see Table 17).
When it came to whether hospital doctors and specialists always or often listened carefully, persons from areas of most disadvantage reported lower rates of satisfaction (87%) than those from areas of least disadvantage (92%) (see Table 18).
The proportion of people indicating that ED doctors and specialists always or often treated them with respect was lower in the most disadvantaged areas (83%) compared to the least disadvantaged area (90%) (see Table 18).
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