Doctors 'open' to better care

Collective “openness” is the word on the Bay of Plenty District Health Board’s lips as they get behind the Health Quality and Safety Commission’s latest initiative.

‘Open for better care’ is a national patient safety campaign coordinated by the commission focussing on reducing harm in the areas of falls, surgery, healthcare associated infections and medication.

(From left) Bay of Plenty District Health Board chief executive Phil Cammish, Health Quality and Safety Commission chief executive Dr Janice Wilson and BOPDHB chief operating officer Phillip Balmer.

Launched in May this year, the campaign looks to improve New Zealand’s health and disability system stop patients coming to harm. In doing so this will free up time and money resources ensuring patients get the right care the first time.

As part of the campaign Health Quality and Safety Commission chief executive Doctor Janice Wilson met with BOPDHB officials to discuss the campaign’s aims and in particular ‘falls’ - the first focus area.        

As a result a programme of falls, activities and promotions has been established along with a number of falls-specific resources.

“90 per cent of older people are assessed for risk of falls. We are looking at reducing the risk of anyone falling by 20 per cent in the next three years,” says Janice.  

Along with the four priority areas it is about establishing good communication and listening platforms across the DHBs. The key concept bringing the campaign together is openness.

“The campaign is really is about bringing increased focus, zest and energy to the four areas but at the same time raising the whole patient safety issue for the health care sector to think about.

“It’s about being open to change, open to admitting changes, open to transparency and open to training.“

She admits Tauranga Hospital is doing “pretty well” overall, but wants to see a vast improvement in hand hygiene statistics.

Earlier this year, figures from the commission’s latest national hand hygiene report revealed medical practitioners across all DHBs had a poor rate of 57.1 per cent for hand washing. The national standard is 70 per cent.

“They are going to fix the problem. They have a very good internal focus on hand hygiene.”

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