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Transparent Events Reporting a Step Forward

Hon David Cunliffe
Minister of Health

20 February 2008 Media Statement

Transparent Events Reporting a Step Forward

Minister of Health David Cunliffe today welcomed the release of serious and sentinel events reports for DHB saying transparency was best way for the health sector to improve.

This is the first time DHBs have taken a consistent and open approach to reporting these events.

“He said the reality was New Zealand hospitals were amongst the safest in the world.

He said New Zealand hospitals compared favourably to Australian and American Hospitals but he says that does not mean we cannot do a lot better.

For every 10,000 patients treated in New Zealand hospitals, 2.2 will be involved in a serious or sentinel event.

“My role is to ensure there is national collaboration on these issues in order to further improve the quality and safety of health services.”

Mr Cunliffe said from now there needed to be consistent national reporting of events co-ordinated by the Ministry of Health.

“The numbers of patients involved in serious or sentinel events compared to the more than half a million patients treated each year is incredibly small. However, I realise that will be of little comfort to those families whose lives have been touched by serious events in hospital.”

Mr Cunliffe said the key was now working with clinicians, managers and government to ensure that where things had gone wrong that lessons were learned and improvements made.

“The Quality Improvement Committee is doing an important job on these issues . I believe with the release of today’s serious and sentinel events report we are on the right path to achieving a co-ordinated approach to safety and quality improvement.”

“While I am pleased with the work that has gone into the co-ordinated response to serious and sentinel events, I do not want anyone to lose sight of the fact that real people’s lives have been affected. I can only assure those families that we are working to ensure mistakes are, where possible, not repeated.”


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