NSW Healthcare System the Best in Australia

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New South Wales’ 220 strong network of state government-run public hospitals continues to outperform other Australian states and territories as well as other first world countries, according to the recently released ‘Healthcare in Focus’ report from the state’s Bureau of Health Information (BHI). With this report measuring basic standards of patient care, such as waiting times for treatment, affordability and accessibility of care, courteous and respectfulness of health care staff and level of patient involvement in their own care outcomes, New South Wales’ hospital system outperformed comparable systems in 80% of instances. These results are particularly impressive considering the huge landmass the NSW Ministry of Health covers, which is larger than many countries. However the state’s relatively small (by global standards) population of 7.8 million means its $22 billion healthcare budget is generously shared amongst residents.

What Makes New South Wales' Hospitals the Best in Australia?

NSW Patients Enjoy Easy Access to World Class Care

Particular areas where New South Wales performed well include the accessibility of care, which reflects “the degree to which patients can obtain healthcare services when and where they need them”. On this measure, which also covers financial accessibility, only 5% of patients said they had serious difficulty paying their medical bills (largely thanks to Medicare) whilst only 15% of adults who needed to see a specialist were unable to do so due to geographical or staffing constraints.

NSW Patients Enjoy Friendly & Courteous Care

Whilst not the most important consideration in receiving effective health care, dealing with friendly and courteous staff at hospital, from admin staff to nurses and medical doctors does make for a much more positive overall experience; especially for anxious patients. On this measure, over 84% of NSW patients said they enjoyed respectful treatment by staff, which was far ahead of all other comparable jurisdictions.

NSW Patients Enjoy Timely Care, When They Need It

Another measure where New South Wales outperforms other comparable hospital systems is when it comes to the timeliness of care, or whether patients receive the care they need for their medical condition, when they need it most. On this measure, 60% of patients waited less than 15 minutes for ambulance assistance after making a 000 call, whilst 74% of patients who visited an ED (emergency department) for non-life threatening conditions were treated within 4 hours of arrival. Another world-beating performance recorded in the April to June 2017 quarter was 97% of patients receiving elective surgery procedures within clinical best practice timeframes.

Solid Result, But Still Room for Improvement

Overall, New South Wales’ public hospital system was ranked as being in the top 20% of the 11 comparable jurisdictions covered, which included from best ranked to worst ranked – the United Kingdom, Netherlands, New Zealand, Germany, Canada, Norway, France, Sweden, United States and Switzerland. This result places NSW between New Zealand and Netherlands towards the very top of the list. However, like many reports, there’s always room for improvement, which in this case concerns the waiting time NSW patients endure for cataract surgery, hip and knee replacements which are slightly longer than average. NSW patients are also at slightly higher risk of suffering post-surgical complications than those in other parts of Australia. Regardless, it’s a solid result considering NSW spend less on health care per capita yet still achieves very favourable outcomes.