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    Australia's top regional and rural private hospitals named

    Armidale Private Hospital in New South Wales has been rated as the best private hospital across regional and rural Australia, according to the nation's largest and most comprehensive survey of patient satisfaction conducted by leading health fund Medibank Private.

    Shepparton Private Hospital in Victoria, Nowra Private Hospital in New South Wales and Mater Misericordiae Hospital Gladstone in Queensland were rated equal second by patients.

    Warners Bay Private Hospital and Baringa Private Hospital, both in New South Wales, obtained equal third place. They shared the National Regional & Rural Bronze Award with St John of God Hospital, Ballarat and St John of God Hospital, Geelong, both in Victoria.

    Medibank Private's Hospital Experience Survey analysed 22,668 responses covering 140 private hospitals in the largest and most authoritative survey of its type in Australia. The Survey covers every stage of the hospital experience, from pre-admission to discharge and follow-up, with respondents sharing their thoughts on everything from the standard of medical treatment provided to privacy levels, cleanliness and food quality.

    Overall, the Survey showed a slight increase in satisfaction with the hospital experience when compared with the 2010 Hospital Experience Survey.

    Medibank Group Executive, Provider Relations, Cindy Shay, said the Survey results provide an accurate insight into the experience of most private hospital patients.

    "The Survey results indicate that, overall, Australians are very satisfied with the standard of care provided in the private health system. This is important because people who take out private health insurance want to know they'll have access to services that suit their individual needs. This Survey shows private hospitals are delivering this.

    "Patients reported high levels of satisfaction with regional and rural hospitals. It's great to see that our regional and rural hospitals are providing strong levels of care and that our members based in those locations are happy with their experiences."

    "In addition to the national, state and regional and rural rankings, we have prepared detailed reports for each of our provider hospitals showing the areas where patients said they were doing well and areas where improvements could be made." Ms Shay said.

    Across the whole Survey, responses showed high levels of satisfaction with clinical staff, including the attitude of health professionals and their clinical skills. However staffing levels were less satisfactory with many respondents left unimpressed by the availability of nurses, both during the day and at night. Identifying the respective roles of hospital staff was also identified as an issue.

    Other areas where respondents indicated high levels of satisfaction were the standard of communication from hospital staff, in particular the explanation of treatment and clarity of doctors and nurses.

    Rating levels were lowest in relation to the discharge experience and post discharge care arrangements. Respondents reported consistently lower levels of satisfaction with the advice and arrangements hospitals provided and the notice they were given prior to discharge. Information about managing recovery and explanation of medicine intake were also highlighted as areas for improvement.

    Regional and rural hospitals revealed similar results, with communications rated as the highest index whilst discharge and follow up was highlighted as an area for improvement.

    Queensland's Mater Private Hospital Redland was named Australia's best private hospital overall, with the Mater Mothers' Private Hospital taking out the National Silver Award. Glenferrie Private Hospital in Victoria, The Burnside War Memorial Hospital and North Eastern Community Hospital, both in South Australia, tied for third in the survey.