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This section contains media releases released a little while ago. Please note that due to the long time when some of these were released images have been removed and some links might no longer work.

December 4, 2015

Making our hospitals safer

A reduction in the number of serious adverse events occurring in West Coast hospitals during the year ending 30 June 2015 is welcome news, Chief Executive David Meates says.

"There were 12 serious adverse events recorded in the 2013 - 14 year, and five recorded in the 2014 - 15 year," he said.

The Health Quality & Safety Commission New Zealand report 'Making Our Hospitals Safer' was released today. This is their ninth report on serious adverse events that have occurred in the country's hospitals in the past year. The report can be accessed via the Health Quality and Safety Commission website, www.hqsc.govt.nz. The report on the West Coast DHB's serious adverse events can be viewed here on the DHB website.

"We believe an increase in the reporting of minor and moderate events and the associated quality improvement is having a positive effect on outcomes for our patients," Mr Meates says. The DHB introduced the "Safety 1st" incident management system in late 2014. The new electronic system makes it easier for staff to report events, as we know that despite our best efforts, adverse events and incidents will happen from time to time. "It is extremely important for West Coast DHB staff to continue to be open and transparent when a patient is harmed while receiving care in our health system. These events have huge impacts on our patients, their families and on staff. We've found that by encouraging the reporting and investigating processes that follow any serious adverse event, we are able to look at the way we do things, learn from them and reduce the likelihood of a recurrence." In March 2015 the DHB appointed a new Patient Safety Officer, who provides a single point of contact for patients and their families involved in serious and adverse events. The Patient Safety Officer provides oversight on investigations following an event, so that the learnings from the event and feedback to families is timely.

Reviews are now regularly coming in under the 70 day Health Quality & Safety Commission (HQSC) timeframe. This means families and staff now receive copies of the reports much sooner. Patients, family/whanau and staff are now provided with an opportunity to view the adverse event report and recommendations prior to the report being finalised. This enables staff to introduce any improvement recommendations before the report's official release, Mr Meates says.

"It's important we take notice of these events to check for underlying systemic issues. I feel confident that our system is now working better in terms of identifying any such issues quickly and starting a process that addresses them. Ultimately, we want people to have confidence that they will receive the healthcare they need from our health system and that when something goes wrong, it will be addressed in a timely and efficient manner."


Lee Harris,
Senior Communications Advisor
West Coast District Health Board
t: +64 27 836 1528

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