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Patient death audit system a worthy investment

10 May 2007

Patient death audit system a worthy investment for Govt

The Green Party is urging the Government to fund a proposal by surgeons which could save hundreds of lives by reducing fatal errors in the operating theatre.

The Royal College of Surgeons wants funding to set up national audits of its operating systems, including a national database of surgical deaths. Each death would be considered by a committee of independent surgeons.

"We strongly support this initiative, and any other proposal that will help reduce the high rate of death and disability caused by hospital error," Ms Kedgley says.

"Establishing the database will cost only $500,000 a year - that is cheap at the price if it results in a reduction in the high number of patient deaths."

Ms Kedgley pointed out that adverse events are costing an estimated $870 million a year.

"Getting a team of independent experts to review each case in which there is a patient death, is precisely the sort of approach that is needed to reduce preventable deaths and other adverse events occurring in New Zealand.

"The aim is not to shame and blame, but rather to help surgical teams identify what changes could be made in operating procedures to avoid future deaths.

"We would also like to see a national database and a review by independent experts set up to try to reduce non-surgical deaths in hospitals and other adverse events," Ms Kedgley says.


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