The HSE says a new patient hospital survey will be used to improve services and reduce waiting times.
In the first National Patient Experience Survey conducted last May, patients in Sligo and Letterkenny said they were generally happy with their local hospital services.
And despite high trolley figures consistently in Letterkenny for the last few months, this survey reveals that people at LUH are not waiting as long to be admitted compared to hospitals elsewhere around the country including Sligo.
The survey was developed with the involvement of Patient Focus.
Our reporter Barry Whyte has been looking at the results of the survey at Sligo and Letterkenny University Hospitals:
Overall, patients’ ratings of their experiences at Sligo University Hospital were above the national average.
89% of patients at the hospital said they had a ‘very good’ or ‘good’ experience, compared with 84% nationally while at Letterkenny University Hospital patients ratings of their experiences were slightly below the national average.
82% of patients at Letterkenny had a ‘very good’ or ‘good’ experience.
In Sligo, patients also reported being given privacy when they were being examined or treated. People were also very positive about the amount of time they had to discuss their care and treatment with a doctor.
Many patients said they were always treated with respect and dignity.
Similarly in Letterkenny, a significant number of patients said that they always felt that they were treated with respect and dignity in the emergency department. Patients also reported having enough privacy on the ward.
Director General of the HSE Tony O’Brien says while all this is encouraging action plans will be implemented to improve all hospitals:At Letterkenny University Hospital patients reported waiting times were shorter than the national average.
However in Sligo the majority of respondents had to wait for more than six hours to be admitted to a ward, so waiting times in the emergency department is one area which requires improvement.
Rachel Flynn from HIQA says this is one of the first things they need to tackle:
The survey also found issues around food in Sligo and Letterkenny.
At Sligo University Hospital 25% of patients rated food there as poor while at Letterkenny University Hospital, 58% said they were not always offered a choice of food.
This survey will now be completed every year and could be expanded to include other areas, such as Maternity Care.