Patients want more choice, says mental health survey
HALF the patients in NSW psychiatric wards found it hard to see doctors in hospital and felt they did not have enough choice in their treatment, the largest ever survey of Australian mental health patients has found.
The survey of 3500 patients in hospital and in community care is part of an innovative program in which local health districts can use the feedback to make changes to their services.
More than 100 changes have been made as a result of the first year of the program, says a progress report to be presented to the Minister for Mental Health, Kevin Humphries, today.
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The Action and Change in NSW Mental Health Services report found 57 per cent of hospital inpatients found it difficult to see a doctor when they felt they needed to and 55 per cent said they did not have enough choice about their treatment.
It also found patients in the community and in hospital wanted more information about available treatments.
Peri O’Shea, the chief executive of the Consumer Advisory Group – Mental Health Incorporated, which conducted the survey, said the biggest message to come from it was that patients wanted to be treated like human beings. „Staff are just so overworked they don’t have time to build the relationships with consumers,“ she said.
Nearly 80 per cent of people in community care were satisfied their information and privacy was protected, and they were treated with respect.
Changes in response to patient complaints included increasing doctors‘ rounds, providing patients with more information on their rights and notepads to record it, and increasing carer involvement, the report said.
More than 100 mental health service providers used the survey and of those 39 per cent implemented changes.