Health Quality & Safety Commission formally established

1 Dec 2010 | Health Quality & Safety Commission

Interim Chair Professor Alan Merry says the Commission will work with clinicians and providers of health and disability services to improve quality and safety. He says health services provided in New Zealand strive to meet the highest standards internationally, and should be based on what is proven to work.

 “Strong quality and safety programmes can make a significant difference to the care patients receive.

 “For example, many DHBs now have programmes in place to reduce the number of people who fall and fracture their limbs while in hospital. Sometimes quite simple things – such as ensuring patients can reach the call button, or lowering bed height – can greatly reduce the risk of falling.”

 Professor Merry says the Commission will continue the quality and safety work begun by the former Quality Improvement Committee.

 “Priorities for the coming year include the national introduction of a standardised medication chart and reconciliation of medicines process, to reduce medication errors.

 “We will also be focusing on reducing hospital-acquired infections.”

 Professor Merry says listening to the experiences of patients themselves is very important and the Commission is soon to begin a project that will ensure consumers are actively engaged in decision making about health services.

 “For example, it is important to take time to talk to patients about their illness or condition, and check they understand what medicines to take and why they are taking them.”  

 The Commission recently released a report on the serious and sentinel events that occurred in New Zealand hospitals in the 2009/2010 year.

 “This report is a good example of how we can learn from preventable events to continually improve the safety and quality of care provided by our health services.”

Last updated 19/01/2012