Health Minister Edwin Poots today welcomed the findings of the Health Survey Northern Ireland 2012/13 which reported high levels of satisfaction with the quality of care provided in hospitals, by GP’s and by community pharmacies.
The annual Health Survey Northern Ireland covers a wide range of health topics including general health, long-standing illness, smoking, alcohol, obesity, child health, hospital visits, general practitioners, medicines and pharmacy management.
The survey reported that over 80% of people who had attended hospitals rated their overall care as either excellent or good. It also revealed that 89% of respondents who had visited their GP within the last six months were fairly satisfied or very satisfied with the care they received and that 92% found the out-of-hours GP services easy to contact. Nearly all respondents (98%) said they were either satisfied or very satisfied with community pharmacies.
Mr Poots said: “I want to thank and pay tribute to the health and social care workforce across Northern Ireland for their continued dedication to improving the care they deliver. It is reassuring that the majority of patients who use our services rate their overall care so well. While around four fifths of respondents rated services as excellent or good in terms of safety, patient experience and effectiveness, we want this to increase and we remain committed to continually improving services.”
The survey also revealed that majority of inpatients (88%), outpatients (87%) and patients who attended Emergency Departments (84%) rated their overall care as either excellent or good and that around four-fifths of respondents rated Health and Social Care Services as excellent or good in terms of safety (82%), patient experience (79%) and effectiveness (78%).
Turning to public health, the Minister welcomed the news that almost three-quarters of respondents (72%) described their health as being good or very good but he added that he was determined that this would improve. He also said it was vital that every effort was made to bring down the number of smokers in Northern Ireland and to tackle the high level of obesity.
He said: “Prevention is better than cure. Over 80% of smokers started in their teens. I introduced the Tobacco Retailers Bill to ensure that the minimum age for buying tobacco products is more rigorously applied by retailers. I want to provide a strong deterrent to retailers from selling tobacco to under 18s and will also create an effective enforcement tool for local councils. Most importantly, I believe this measure will help to reduce the number of young people taking up smoking.”
And he added: “Obesity continues to be one of our most important public health challenges as it can contribute to, and increase the risk of, life threatening diseases such as heart disease, some cancers and Type 2 Diabetes. I am determined to address this major health issue and that is why I launched the Framework for Preventing and Addressing Overweight and Obesity in Northern Ireland 2012-2022: A Fitter Future for All in March 2012, which emphasises the importance of all the inter-connected and related factors involved, and aims to address the issue of overweight and obesity through a coordinated, integrated approach. It supports the Executive’s Programme for Government commitment to invest £7.2million into programmes to tackle obesity.”
Health Survey Northern Ireland 2012/13
The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety published today its ‘Health Survey Northern Ireland 2012/13’ report.
The Health Survey Northern Ireland is conducted annually and covers a wide range of health topics. The 2012/13 survey included questions relating to general health, longstanding illness, smoking, alcohol, obesity, physical activity, child health, breastfeeding, skincare prevention, hospital visits, general practitioners, medicines and pharmacy management, sexual health and carbon monoxide and smoke alarms.
The key findings of the report are as follows:
* Almost three-quarters of respondents (72%) described their health as being good or very good while 9% said their health was bad or very bad.
* Almost two-fifths of respondents (37%) reported having a longstanding illness, with almost three-quarters of these (72%) stating that it limited their activities to some extent.
* Three-quarters of outpatients (72%) and inpatients (70%) thought they were admitted as soon as needed.
* The majority of inpatients (88%), outpatients (87%) and patients who attended A&E (84%) rated their overall care as either excellent or good.
* Three-quarters of those seeking an appointment within two days (75%) were able to get one.
* Overall, 89% of respondents who had visited their GP within the last six months were fairly satisfied or very satisfied with the care they received.
* Around four-fifths of respondents rated Health and Social Care Services as excellent or good in terms of safety (82%), patient experience (79%) and effectiveness (78%).
* Almost one-quarter of respondents (24%) were current smokers (25% of males and 23% of females).
* Smoking prevalence was higher in the most deprived areas (37%) than in the least deprived areas (12%).
* Almost four-fifths of those surveyed (79%) aged 18 and over stated that they drank alcohol, while 15% said that they had never drank alcohol.
* A quarter of adults (25%) were obese with a further two-fifths (37%) classed as overweight. Males (69%) were more likely than females (57%) to be overweight or obese.
* Over half of respondents (53%) aged 19 and over met the new recommendations of 150 or more minutes of at least moderate exercise per week (or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week).
* Three-quarters of children aged 2-10 years old (75%) were either underweight or normal weight, while a fifth (19%) were overweight and 6% were classed as obese.