There’s a phrase made popular by Mark Twain that is as well-known today as it was in the 1800s: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics”.
It’s a saying often used to poke holes in a case where statistics have been put forward to make a point.
It’s true in the sense that statistics can be spun in ways to suit any argument. But it’s equally true that numbers don’t lie.
So, for example, it’s worth reporting that only 52 per cent of staff at Albury Wodonga Health agree the organisation does a good job of training staff, that 23 per cent of staff reported they had experienced bullying in 2018 and that less than three quarters of staff would recommend a friend or relative be a patient at the service.
On one hand, staff confidence in eight patient safety criteria has decreased since 2013 but, as Albury Wodonga Health chief executive Leigh McJames points out, it has increased year-on-year since 2016 and is trending in the right direction.
It’s a matter of perspective.
As Mr McJames says: “It’s a large organisation of 2800 people, so you have to be careful not to generalise, like any large organisation there will be pockets [of issues] for various reasons.”
“I can’t explain from 2013, but I can look at it and say there was a real rethink of culture in 2016.”
On the other hand, Health Service Union national president Gerard Hayes says the results are “deeply concerning” and that they “provide a critically important insight into staff morale and wellbeing”.
Albury Wodonga Health, which serves a 250,000 population catchment, has been boosted significantly in recent years with the addition of the cancer centre and cardiac catheter lab. Upgrades of the emergency, intensive care units and maternity sections on the Albury hospital site are in the works.
You can look at the staff satisfaction survey results a number of ways but there’s only one thing each of the 250,000 people in that catchment want – a healthy Albury Wodonga Health.
Happy staff leads to happy patients, which could be any of us at any time.
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