Khoo Teck Puat Hospital tops among patients again

SINGAPORE - For the second time in a row, Singapore's newest hospital Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) has topped a Ministry of Health (MOH) survey on service at public health-care institutions.

But one of the oldest hospitals - Singapore General Hospital (SGH) - showed the greatest improvement after being named the worst performer in the last survey.

Around eight in 10 patients described service at KTPH as "excellent" or "good", with nearly nine in 10 giving its wards the thumbs-up.

Among its staff are those formerly of Alexandra Hospital, which had consistently topped the patient satisfaction survey since it was introduced in 2004.

Patients at SGH gave it an approval rating of 74 per cent this year, an increase of 7 percentage points over the previous survey in 2010. But its accident and emergency (A&E) department scored the lowest - 59 per cent were happy with the service there. Alexandra Hospital had the best A&E.

Waiting times continued to cause unhappiness among patients across all public hospitals. Waiting times at A&E departments, for instance, range from one to three hours.

The survey is carried out by an independent survey company. This year, 12,355 patients who used services at the public hospitals, polyclinics and national specialty centres took part in the survey from June to September.

Patients were asked to rate their level of satisfaction with the institution's services, and whether they would recommend it to other patients. Points to consider: knowledge and skills, and the care and concern shown by health-care professionals, as well as the institution's facilities.

KTPH chief executive Chew Kwee Tiang attributed the hospital's good showing to an "information board" of patient data. The computer system enables doctors, nurses and pharmacists to access patients' critical results, urgent doctors' orders and latest health updates in real-time, and this has helped eliminate 700 phone calls each month from the wards to different departments to check on status updates.

"This has helped to improve the communication and efficiency of our staff, and this can be immediately felt by our patients," she said.

At SGH, service quality director Isabel Yong said various initiatives had helped improve standards at the hospital. These included training staff to be more sensitive to issues commonly faced by the elderly, who form the majority of the hospital's patients.

Volunteer guides and chaperones also assist patients in moving around the premises and help them with self-registration.

The hospital, whose facilities are more than 30 years old, is undergoing upgrading to implement more elder-friendly features.

A spokesman for MOH said that, although the survey had indicated where health-care institutions did well, it would continue to work to improve in areas such as waiting times at the A&E departments.

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