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New Health & Disability Standards Become Mandatory

13 February 2002

New Health And Disability Standards Become Mandatory

Health Minister Annette King announced today that new health and disability standards for hospitals, rest homes and residential disability services would be mandatory from 1 October 2004.

The standards, overseen and published by Standards New Zealand on behalf of the Ministry of Health, are already being used in a number of health and disability facilities around the country and are aimed at improving safety levels and quality of care.

"The standards focus on what happens to people in services and outlines what providers need to achieve to make sure that people are receiving safe quality care. The bottom line is that if health or disability providers cannot provide a decent service in the future they will not be in the business of providing care,” Ms King said.

The standards are based in part on the Health and Disability Commissioner's Code of Rights, which already establishes levels of services consumers can expect.

The significance of the new standards is that for the first time providers must comply with a set of nationally consistent standards that measure service outcomes rather than solely service inputs, like sizes of rooms or numbers of toilets.

"I have approved the standards for use under the new Health and Disability Services (Safety) Act. They are a comprehensive benchmark by which health and disability services will be measured and there are already many providers using them.

"I encourage providers to adopt the new standards as soon as possible and to continue to take responsibility for providing a safe service and to continuously improve the quality of their services."

The standards are designed to set agreed levels for minimum safety and to move toward quality improvement. Areas covered include: consumer rights, organisational management, pre-entry and entry to services, service delivery, safe and appropriate environments, infection control, and standards for mental health services.

"The whole idea is to improve safety and quality in our health and disability system, boost public confidence, modernise health legislation and give clear guidance to health providers about the standard of health care we all expect," Ms King said.

For background and questions and answers on the standards, visit www.moh.govt.nz (under FAQs).

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