• Award affirms ‘patient happiness’ link

    A focus on staff wellbeing has proven to be a winner for Bethesda Health Care, with the Western Australia-based group being recognised at the Australian Private Hospitals Association (APHA) Awards for Excellence. 

    Bethesda was presented with the ‘Specific Award Category 2023: Staff engagement and wellbeing’ prize at the APHA 40th National Congress in Sydney, for its ‘Work Health and Safety Staff Wellness Survey’ submission.

    The judging panel said it was “a very good application demonstrating commitment to staff wellbeing” – which it showed was “linked to patient satisfaction”. 

    “The link between staff wellbeing and patient satisfaction is encouraging and important in safe patient outcomes,” the judges added.

    Bethesda CEO Dr Neale Fong paid tribute to staff who, since the survey was conducted, had worked hard to implement changes to improve their wellbeing. 

    “The staff wellbeing survey showed us what we are doing really well, but more importantly identified gaps and areas of weakness across our organisation,” he said. 

    “We can now target our resources into improving those areas in need.”

    Bethesda staff were surveyed on all aspects of their lives, not just the work environment. 

    Up to 55 percent of staff completed the survey, of which 80 percent said Bethesda was a “great” place to work.

    It also provided insights into areas where staff wanted more education and training, including: having difficult conversations at work; dealing with and managing conflict; and giving effective and constructive feedback. 

    “We recognise that engaging with our staff and building a good culture at work, and home, will have a direct positive impact on clinical outcomes and the care our patients receive,” Dr Fong said.

    In response to the survey, Bethesda developed guidance material, training sessions and new training packages. In June 2023, it will ask staff to complete another survey to measure how effective the changes have been.

    APHA CEO Michael Roff, who was part of the judging panel, said the Awards for Excellence were an opportunity for hospitals to share their innovative projects with peers, with a view to providing a platform for them that others can emulate.  

    “We reintroduced the Awards in 2020 to celebrate the high-quality care Australians receive in private hospitals, but  also to offer a way for hospital executives to learn from industry exemplars,” he said. 

    “We have a session at our APHA National Congress each year dedicated to the Awards which aims to provide a snapshot into the finalists’ programs to  provoke thoughts and conversations about how that excellence could be shared.” 

    • PH News will profile the other 2023 APHA Awards for Excellence winners – Epworth HealthCare and Robina Private Hospital – later in April.

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