Thirdly, call on its services. Public relations

Thirdly, it has to deal with the patients, their relatives, visitors and the community at large. Therefore, the hospital must do more than to satisfy its actual custo­mers. Apart from those who are attending as outpatients or are admitted as inpatients, there are all the potential customers in its catchment area who at some future time will need to call on its services.

Public relations are not only a summation of individual relations, but much more. These relations have their origin in the acts and attitudes of every worker and staff member who collectively mould the image of the hospital in the community. Current and ex-patients are the best (or worst) advertisement for a hospital. People cannot resist telling their friends and neighbours about a hospital experience, and from this emerges a series of pictures of the hospital which together make up its local image. Public relations can be defined as the image of a hospital by the users and their peer groups.

The image may be positive or negative, and is a combination of: i. Impressions of the users and public, ii. Attitudes of the people working for the hospital, iii. Attitudes of hospital administration. The intrinsic needs of each of the above differ. Patients want effective services and satisfaction and a sympathetic approach.

Workers (staff) want job satisfaction and recognition by their peers and people. Hospital administration wants efficiency and maximum satisfaction of staff as well as patients.

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