Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Higher Standards And Better Services in Public Hospitals

Koala Hospital
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
NSW Liberal Leader Peter Debnam and Shadow Health Minister Jillian Skinner today announced a policy that will ensure higher standards in NSW hospitals and help prevent life-threatening mistakes being made.

“This policy announced today will boost resources for Quality and Risk Management programs to reduce the rate of hospital-acquired infections and the number of patient re-admissions,” Mr Debnam said.

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“We will also retain the NSW Clinical Excellence Commission as the body responsible for identifying patient mistakes in the hospital system,” he said.

“Our policy will ensure that when hospital accidents do occur, action is taken so that they never happen again.

“Under Labor, our hospitals have been starved of the resources they need and as a result an alarming number of mistakes are being made.

“We will ensure higher standards and better services in our hospitals. We will help stop hospital mistakes before they happen.

“Mistakes are being made and people are suffering because Morris Iemma won’t face up to the failure of his NSW health system.

“Rather than protect patients by having proper systems Labor is more concerned with downplaying the problem. Labor would rather fix the headlines than fix the problems," he said.

Shadow Health Minister Jillian Skinner said: “The people of NSW expect the highest possible protection through systems and procedures that minimise risk, continuously monitor quality and are able to change as new lessons are learned. This is not happening in our hospitals and as a result, patients are suffering.”

Warren Anderson’s 16-year-old daughter died in November 2005 at Royal North Shore Hospital after being hit in the head by a golf ball.

“Vanessa’s treatment was a comedy of errors. The system let Vanessa down - her scans were lost, doctors didn’t know she was there, there are questions about the drugs she was given and the Government’s response so far has been inadequate. My family is in a living hell because this issue has not been resolved,” Mr Anderson said.

The NSW Liberal/Nationals Coalition will deliver higher standards and better services in our public Hospitals through:

o Reducing the rate of hospital-acquired infections by:
- Providing the resources staff need to clean up dirty wards and close wards that repeatedly fail inspections by quality managers.
- Evaluating implementation of ‘preventative infection spread measures’, which include hand washing, and monitoring of ‘at risk’ patients and staff treating them.
- Ensuring Annual Reports include information about hospital-acquired infections:
= across the whole NSW hospital system as is the case in the US or UK.
= for each hospital, by clinical department, so that patients can make informed choices about where to have their operation.

o Retaining the NSW Clinical Excellence Commission as the body responsible for identifying ‘issues of a systemic nature that affect patient safety and clinical quality in the NSW health system and to develop and advise on implementation strategies to address these issues’.

o Establishing Quality and Risk Management programs employing quality managers and getting input from medical and nursing staff to measure improvement. Hospital Quality Management programs will include credentialing of medical staff, documenting medical records and they will:
- Be conducted, coordinated and managed in the hospital.
- Determine results and conclusions from these activities available in a timely fashion primarily for the clinical staff of the hospital and not primarily for a central government authority.
- Be responsible for ensuring implementation of treatment guidelines and protocols such as those resulting from Coronial recommendations.
- Be associated with an effective mechanism for problem resolution and change management at the hospital.

“This policy recognises that no Quality Management and Risk Management program is likely to be successful in the absence of significant input from medical and nursing staff,” Mrs Skinner said.

"NSW deserves a higher standard of government,” Mr Debnam said. ”Morris Iemma as Premier and Health Minister is a failure. Carl Scully as Transport and Police Minister was a failure. Joe Tripodi as Roads Minister was a failure. Michael Costa as Treasurer is a failure and Eric Roozendaal as Roads Minister continues to be a failure.”

"What NSW needs is higher standards, better services and balanced budgets," Mr Debnam said.