CMH one of top 5 in State

Wednesday, 28 March 2012
Casterton Memorial Hospital, which was recently named one of the top five Victorian hospitals for patient care and is determined to build on that status.

EVERYTHING is looking up for Casterton Memorial Hospital, which was recently named one of the top five Victorian hospitals for patient care and is determined to build on that status.  

The 104-year-old community hospital prides itself on giving people a “quality and enjoyable experience” and “linking the community together” and scored 88.4 out of 100 for patient care in the Victorian Patient Satisfaction Monitor Annual Report.

Chief executive Owen Stephens was pleased with the results and said the future was looking bright for the hospital because of new digital systems, video conferences with other doctors and the prospect of ‘telemedicine’.

He said rural areas were often seen to go without some medical services, but the Casterton hospital was striving to quash that stereotype.

“Everything we do is towards improving the access (to medical services) for rural people,” he said.

“We are improving the systems to get the patient to the right place, with the right type of care and are hoping to bring in ‘telemedicine’ where people can come into a consulting room here and speak to a specialist via video.

“We have an aging population and this will lower their need to travel and help reduce that sense of distance as well as the isolation factor.

“And from a hospital and staff perspective, the (patient care results) are a great indication of the work and care we provide.”

For Mr Stephens, keeping patients happy was a reasonably simple idea – have genuine staff members who care and listen.

“It comes down to a great staff base and having people who have that real care factor and empathy for others,” he said.

“And to ensure improvements, we get every patient to fill out a satisfaction form and this information feeds through to management and ensures we offer patients what they want.”

There’s no question that things are changing in terms of medical services and Mr Stephens said it was important to take those changes into account when planning for the future.

“With different generations coming through, we need to provide different care and food,” he said.

“(Our hospital) has built up a culture over the years where it is a necessity to strive for improvement and work with the changes to patient needs and requirements.

“The expectations have changed from some years ago and because of the new digital era we have improved the entertainment services and are now proving bedside access to the internet.”

He said the next plan was to get Casterton’s airstrip running 24 hours, seven days a week.

“We can’t offer things like neurosurgeons and brain surgery here but we have to be a part of the link to the health network,” he said.

“As part of our strategic plan to improve access, we want to get the airstrips lights upgraded and provide night landings.”

They are currently lobbying with the Southern Grampians Shire Council to get this underway in the near future.

“It’s important for (the Casterton Memorial Hospital) to have an autonomy and work well with other services,” Mr Stephens said.

“The key is having good relationships and partnerships with many partners (in Ballarat, Geelong, Hamilton, Warrnambool etc) in areas such as patient services, education and clinical placements – we have our fingers on a few things.”

“It’s all about linking the community together with extra services.”

The report also revealed high results for Western District Health Service in Hamilton, Penhurst and Coleraine, who scored 83.2 out of 100.

The hospitals with the top five highest scores though were Timboon and District Healthcare Service, Yea and District Memorial Hospital, Moyne Health Services, Cohuna District Hospital and Casterton Memorial Hospital.

Minister for Health David Davis said the report showed Victorian hospitals had recorded significant increases in patient satisfaction in 2010/11.  

“Most importantly, no Victorian hospital showed a statistically significant decrease in patient satisfaction and no hospital received a fair rating,” he said.

“This achievement is testament to our dedicated doctors, nurses and other hospital staff who can be truly proud of the difference they make to lives of Victorian patients each and every day.”

Casterton’s Memorial Hospital has been given the thumbs up by patients for providing great service and care.


Courtesy of Hamilton Spectator - Emma-Jayne Schenk