Friday, April 19, 2024

Queensland hospitals set for new clinical safety trial

Four Queensland Hospital and Health Services are set to trial a new clinical safety process which will enable staff to escalate concerns about patient care.

Patient Safety Net will be piloted by Townsville, Gold Coast and Central Queensland HHSs and Children’s Health Queensland.

Minister for Health, Mental Health and Ambulance Services and Minister for Women Shannon Fentiman said the pathway includes a hotline and can be used by all Queensland Health staff, including contractors, agency staff, students and volunteers.

“It’s extremely important that everyone feels safe within our hospitals,” she said.

“Patient Safety Net is designed to prevent harm to all patients and ensure they are receiving the best healthcare possible.

“This pathway has been developed to allow staff the opportunity to report any concerns about local patient safety issues that they feel may not be being managed in a timely or sufficient manner.”

Each HHS will appoint patient safety stewards to manage concerns and drive the pilot, which will be launched on October 9.

Executive committees will also be convened at each HHS to oversee concerns that have been escalated to stewards and ensure effective resolutions are achieved in a timely way, the Minister said.

“It is important staff feel supported to escalate any concerns they may have and have the option to remain anonymous.”

“This new pathway streamlines the complaint process through providing staff access to a patient safety steward either in their HHS or in the Department of Health.

“It is widely acknowledged in the health sector that higher incident reporting is an indication of a positive and transparent safety culture, that ultimately leads to better patient care.

“It is critical that we continue investing in our staff and supporting systems of care to ensure we can improve safety, reliability and patient experience,” she said.

The pilot will be evaluated in mid-2024, with plans to roll the program out across Queensland Health and the Queensland Ambulance Service if it is effective.

“Collectively, our hospitals admit almost a million patients every year, and provide more than one and a half million emergency services. Each year there is also around 3,500,000 outpatient services.”

“These include concerns in which there is potential or actual harm to a patient or consumer. It could be physical or psychological harm, or both,” said Minister Fentiman.

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