Feedback from patients not directly used to determine nurses' performance grade: Rahayu Mahzam
Negative feedback will still affect performance and appraisal if nurses are found to require improvement in some areas, says the Senior Parliamentary Secretary of Health.
SINGAPORE: Feedback from patients and their family members are not used directly to determine the performance grade nurses receive, Senior Parliamentary Secretary of Health Rahayu Mahzam said on Wednesday (Nov 30).
However negative feedback will still impact performance and appraisal if nurses are found to require improvement in some areas, she added.
Ms Rahayu was replying to a parliamentary question by MP Louis Ng (PAP-Nee Soon), who also asked how nurses are protected against unfair feedback or abuse by patients or visitors.
Nurses are assessed holistically through key areas such as the provision of timely and quality patient care, display of leadership capabilities, as well as professional and personal development, said Ms Rahayu.
"While institutions take feedback from patients and their family members seriously, this is not used to directly determine the performance grade that a nurse receives," she explained.
"In general, feedback from patients and their family members is considered an integral part of quality and care improvement for our public healthcare institutions."
Positive feedback would be given to the nurses and care teams to recognise their efforts.
On the other hand, negative feedback will be looked into, in case there are gaps to address in the quality of care, said Ms Rahayu.
As for abuse and harassment, public healthcare institutions take a serious stance against such behaviour, and employees are encouraged to report such incidents to their supervisor or whistle-blowing channels, she added.
"This would be looked into fairly as it is crucial to protect and support staff against abusive patients or family members accompanying patients when necessary," Ms Rahayu said.
She noted that police reports have been lodged previously and further investigations conducted.
In a supplementary question, Mr Ng asked the Ministry of Health to confirm that negative feedback against nurses by patients or their families would not directly affect their bonuses, appraisal or promotions.
Elaborating, Ms Rahayu said that nurses are in the business of patient care and so feedback from patients and family members will need to be considered.
"It is an integral part of the quality and care improvement of (public healthcare institutions) but this is something we look at in general, holistically when we talk about bonus, when we talk about their promotion, a lot of other aspects come into play," Ms Rahayu said, adding that all nurses know this.
"We do take the concerns of patients and family members and if it impacts the work on their performance we then need to take action.
"In some ways, it does have some relevance if it really is investigated and there are some areas where the nurses can improve this needs to be taken into account," said Ms Mahzam. She added that training and support may be provided to such nurses.
"So in some way does impact performance and appraisal. But this is not the only factor."