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Minister welcomes consultation on quality

11 September 2000 Media Statement

Minister welcomes consultation on quality

Health Minister Annette King welcomes new Health Funding Authority initiatives aimed at improving the quality of services in public hospitals.

The HFA today announced it was consulting medical professionals on a standard framework for credentialling medical practitioners in public hospitals, and that it was also consulting health and disability service providers on "developing a robust process for reporting and analysing serious events in hospitals".

Mrs King said both consultation processes ultimately aimed to make hospitals safer for patients.

"In the first case, the aim is to ensure that there are regular checks on the training, qualifications and skills of doctors, so patients can be assured doctors have the appropriate credentials.

"And in the second case the aim of consultation is to try to ensure that if a serious problem occurs in one hospital, then other hospitals learn from the problem, and don't experience the same thing.

"New Zealand hospitals have not done particularly well in this respect, but if a standardised process of investigation is established, and the results of investigations are disseminated properly within the sector, we should see an improvement."

Mrs King said there had been a number of problems in recent years that would certainly have dented the confidence of many New Zealanders in the medical profession and in hospitals.

"The reality is that patient surveys show New Zealanders are generally happy with the treatment they receive. But sometimes mistakes are made or systems go wrong, and it must help public confidence if people know that when that happens, the problem will be fixed, and there will be systems in place to prevent it occurring elsewhere."

ENDS

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