New report shows improved patient care

31 Oct 2016 | Health Quality Intelligence

The Health Quality & Safety Commission is celebrating improved patient care as Patient Safety Week begins, with the release of a new report – Open4Results.

Open4Results highlights harm prevented and money saved through the improvements made by health services in areas where the Commission has a focus. These successes are the result of the work and commitment of the whole sector to improve patient safety and save lives.

Finding of the first report include:

  • The rate of patients falling and breaking their hip in public hospitals has almost halved. Since January 2015, there have been 52 fewer falls resulting in a broken hip, saving an estimated $2.5 million.
  • Since April 2012, 260 central line associated bacteraemia (CLAB) or blood stream infections have been avoided, a $5.2 million saving. CLABs are distressing for patients and can lead to longer hospital stays and associated costs.
  • Since July 2013, there has been a reduction in surgical site infections related to hip and knee replacements, from 1.3 percent of operations to 0.9 percent of operations, saving up to $670,000 since August 2015.
  • Since January 2013, there have been fewer older people admitted to hospital as an emergency more than once – 54,000 fewer bed-days in total. This is $42 million of care which can be redirected to patients who otherwise couldn’t have been treated. When older people are repeatedly admitted to hospital it can indicate they are not receiving the right range of care and care that is well integrated around their individual needs. This result reflects the interventions put in place by many district health boards to reduce these admissions.
  • Since 2010, there have been 547 fewer deaths of children aged between 28 days and 24 years. Much of this reduction has been driven by work around sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI), and fewer road traffic crashes involving young people.
  • Since 2010, there have been 95 fewer stillborn babies. There are a number of reasons for this reduction, including improved care and lower smoking rates.

‘Patient safety is at the heart of what the Commission aims to achieve, and these numbers reflect the health sector’s commitment to keeping our people safe,’ says the Commission’s Director of Health Quality Evaluation, Richard Hamblin.

‘These improvements reach right across our population, from newborn babies and expectant mothers to young people being better protected when driving their car, to our older people not spending as much time in hospital.’

Patient Safety Week is an annual event. This year’s theme – Let’s talk – centres on communication between consumers and health professionals. It is promoted by many district health boards and other health providers, and supported by the Commission and the Accident Compensation Corporation.

During Patient Safety Week many hospital staff will wear name stickers to help introduce themselves to patients. The stickers have been adapted from a campaign by UK doctor the late Kate Granger, who noticed some medical staff treating her did not introduce themselves or say what they were going to do.

More information about Patient Safety Week is available on the Open for better care website:

Last updated 31/10/2016