Goodhew: MercyAscot Open for better care signing
10 October, 2013
Speech: MercyAscot’s signing of the Open for better care pledge
E aku rangatira, tēnā koutou katoa. Ka nui te honore ki te mihi ki a koutou.
Good afternoon. First I would like to acknowledge MercyAscot Managing Director Andrew Wong, chair Richard Fisher and CEO Geoff Sparkes, as well as Health and Quality and Safety Commission deputy chair Shelly Frost.
It’s a pleasure to be here today to celebrate the signing of the pledge in support of Open for better care, the national patient safety campaign. MercyAscot Hospital is the first private provider to sign the pledge. I know how important quality care and patient safety is to you all, and committing to the campaign will support and strengthen the initiatives you already have under way.
New Zealand doctors, nurses and other health care workers in the public and private sectors have extensive knowledge, skills and commitment, and already deliver excellent patient care.
But patients are still being harmed, sometimes with serious and long-term consequences.
I launched the Open for better care campaign in May this year to challenge health care workers to be open to acknowledging mistakes and learning from them, open to working closely with patients and consumers, and open to change, improvement and innovation.
Accountability is one of MercyAscot’s values, and I’m sure you’ll welcome Open for better care’s emphasis on working in partnership with patients and their families.
The campaign is led by the Health Quality & Safety Commission and implemented regionally by district health boards and other providers.
All 20 district health boards have signed the pledge, and I am delighted to see MercyAscot leading the way for private providers to commit to this important patient safety initiative.
I’ve seen first-hand many of the excellent initiatives being carried out around the country. In many cases, we already know the simple measures that can make a big difference to patient safety.
The challenge for all of us, in whichever area of the health sector we work in, is to make sure these proven, evidence-based interventions are implemented consistently.
The campaign focuses on four areas in which evidence shows us we can make a difference to reducing patient harm. These four areas are: falls, infections, surgery and medication.
Reducing harm from falls is the first focus area of the campaign. The case for change is compelling: falls are the leading cause of injuries to older people and, on average, two patients fell and broke their hip in New Zealand’s hospitals every week in 2012.
Even without physical injury, patients who have a fall may lose confidence and suffer from anxiety. Fear of falling can create a downward spiral of unnecessarily restricted physical and social activities, which may cause loss of fitness, psychological distress, depression and social isolation.
Yet there is strong evidence that many falls can be prevented. Open for better care provides evidence-based resources and advice to help health care workers identify patients at risk of falling, and work to help keep them safe.
I know MercyAscot is already working with the Northern Region’s First, Do No Harm programme to reduce falls and harm from falls. Open for better care will support the great work you’re doing, and give you the tools to continue making improvements to quality and safety.
The second focus area of the campaign, reducing harm from infections, will be launched this month. MercyAscot already has a process to record and reduce surgical site infections, and I commend you on this work.
By signing the Open for better care pledge today, you’re demonstrating that you are open to working in partnership with patients, consumers, families and whānau, acknowledging mistakes and learning from them and sharing and learning from successes.
The campaign advocates for a culture change, and by joining you become part of a national network of people in the health sector who have accepted the challenge to be open to learning and improving all the time.
Five months into the campaign, it is very encouraging to see the support from health care workers and from the wider community. We all want to provide the safest possible care for patients, and this is a platform to raise awareness, share ideas and build on the progress we have already made.
I commend you on your decision to join Open for better care, and understand that other private providers, such as Southern Cross Hospitals, are already following your lead. I wish you all the best with your drive to continue to make health care safer for patients.
Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.