Reporting of ambulance service adverse events commended

21 Mar 2017 | Adverse Events

The Health Quality & Safety Commission is commending ambulance services for reporting their adverse events.

Commission Chair Prof Alan Merry says in 2013 ambulance services began reporting numbers of adverse events to the Commission, joining district health boards and some private hospitals, primary health organisations, hospices and aged residential care facilities. The reporting to the Commission by ambulance services is voluntary.

‘Being open and transparent when things go wrong in our health care services is absolutely critical if we are to change processes and systems to prevent further incidents.

‘For this reason the Commission strongly encourages health care providers to report their adverse events, and we commend ambulance services for showing leadership by doing so.’

Prof Merry says a rise in reported adverse events did not necessarily mean there was an actual increase in incidents.

‘For example, reporting of adverse events by DHBs since 2006/7 has increased steadily. We believe this increase is due to a progressive increase in our culture of transparency and commitment to learning from things that go wrong in health care.’

He says that over the past two years, ambulance services had prioritised identifying and learning from adverse events.

‘This has resulted in a significant increase in reporting of events, which is expected to continue.’

In 2015–16, there were 101 adverse events reported by ambulance services, an increase from nine events reported in the preceding year. In its 2015–16 Learning from adverse events report the Commission said this reflected an ambulance sector that had significantly improved its culture and systems to identify and report adverse events.

In the last year, the ambulance sector has established an adverse event review group. The group has representation from ambulance services, the National Ambulance Sector Office and the Commission. Its purpose is to improve and align how adverse events are managed and to share what others have learnt from their investigations.

For further information: 
Dylan Moran | 021 813 591 |

Last updated 21/03/2017