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King endorses nursing contribution patient safety

King endorses nursing contribution to patient safety

Health Minister Annette King says the importance of the contribution nurses make to the quality and safety of health care cannot be overstated.

Commenting on today’s New Zealand Nurses Organisation patient safety conference in Wellington, Ms King said: "We have more than 35,000 nurses working in the health sector in New Zealand, by far the biggest single group of health professionals.

“I am delighted that New Zealand nurses organisations and the Ministry of Health are working together to look at how nurses can work most effectively to ensure patient safety is paramount."

Ms King said she understood the conference would be discussing international research that had shown that patient safety was closely related to characteristics of nursing services in hospitals.

"One particularly important part of the conference will be the chance to hear Dr Linda Aiken, director of the Centre of Health at Pennsylvania University. Her research, carried out in six countries, including New Zealand, concerns the impact of hospital processes and characteristics on patient outcomes.”

Dr Aiken, in New Zealand until Friday, will be meeting with various nursing groups, District Health Board nursing staff and executives.

Ms King said the Government was committed to enabling nurses to work effectively in the health sector, and to improving hospital processes to ensure patient safety.

"We now have nurse practitioners, we have paved the way for nurse prescribing, and we're in the process of selecting and funding innovative models of primary health care nursing. We are also providing scholarships to primary health care nurses for postgraduate study.

"There is obviously a big role for nurses in terms of improving access to primary health care for New Zealanders, but the Government is also committed to ensuring the quality and safety of care in our hospitals.”

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