Essay on Patient Safety Initiatives in Australia

i. Support those who work in the health system to practise safely

ii. Improve data and information for safer care

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iii. Involve consumers in improving health care safety

iv. Redesign systems of health care to facilitate a culture of safety

v. Build awareness and understanding of health care safety.

The National Action Plans (2001 and 2002) for patient safety improvement focused on the following key areas:

i. Promoting approaches to make consumers the centre of health care

ii. Encouraging cultural change with a focus on system improvement rather than blaming individuals

iii. Promoting better use of information to find out what is going wrong

iv. Introducing practical improvement tools and measures to help make patient care safer

v. Developing national standards for open disclosure

vi. Reducing preventable patient harm associated with medication use

vii. Reducing patient harm as a result of health care associated infection

viii.Coordinated national action to learn from serious adverse events.

2. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA):

A unit of the Department of Health and Ageing, TGA is responsible for approval and monitoring of drugs, medical supplies, devices and blood/blood products.

As per the rules, the manufacturers are required to report adverse drug effects to the Adverse Drug Reactions Advisory Committee (ADRAC) of the TGA.

Medical professionals and consumers can also report the adverse drug reactions. Information about recall of unsafe drugs as well as drug alerts is disseminated by the ADRAC to the public and the health professionals through its website and publications.

3. Independent NGO Initiatives:

In 1989, the Australian Patient Safety Foundation (APSF), an NGO was founded for monitoring anesthesia errors. Its role was later expanded to ‘patient incident reporting and monitoring’.

Adverse medical events, both sentinel events (leading to injuries/deaths) and near misses (potentially harmful errors), are reported and analyzed through its subsidiary— Patient Safety International (PSI), with the help of a software tool—the Advanced Incident Management System (AIMS).

The data remains confidential and is protected from legal discovery under Australian Commonwealth Quality Assurance legislation. Patient safety information is provided through internet news letters.