27 September 2001 Media Statement
Quality improvement plan for hospitals to be developed
A practical, action-focused paper on ways to improve safety and quality in public hospitals was released for public
discussion by Health Minister Annette King today.
"This paper takes a 'bottom up' approach to developing better quality," says Mrs King.
"It recognises that the health professionals themselves are in the best position to develop a practical action plan to
improve quality. This paper presents them with an opportunity to do just that, in collaboration with patient advocates
The paper, produced by an ad hoc group including clinicians, managers and a patient advocate, identifies a range of
activities to improve safety and quality.
It proposes the establishment of clinical boards within hospitals, elected by the clinical staff, to oversee clinical
policy and planning. It discusses ways to improve communication and team-work within the hospital and to develop
partnerships between clinicians and the community.
"While the paper discusses ways to enable nurses and doctors to have more say on how hospital services are delivered, it
also looks at ways to develop more openness and accountability," says Mrs King. "At the same time it is important to
move away from the 'blame culture' that we seem to have adopted when things go wrong. We must develop a more cooperative
'safety culture' that encourages more open reporting.
"This paper complements the National Health Committee's broader focused quality improvement strategy discussion document
released earlier this week," says Mrs King. "The resulting strategy will also complement the new standards regime that
will be introduced next year after the passing of the Health and Disability (Safety) Bill."
Submissions on the discussion paper are being sought from individuals and organisations within the hospital sector, as
well as from professional bodies and patient advocacy services. Feedback will be used in the development of a quality
improvement strategy early next year.
NB: The paper is available on the Ministry of Health's web site: www.moh.govt.nz