Quality has been in the Australian Health lexicon since the “Quality in Australian Health Care” study of Harrison, Runciman et al was published in 1995. Initially reactive, our Health systems have moved slowly and patchily towards a more proactive stance. Incident reporting, regulation, system wide inquiries, standards development and the increasing use of evidence-based clinical guidelines and many other improvement programs have stimulated this progress.
But the major impetus has been the engagement of clinicians, managers and patients in continuous quality improvement. The Australian Council for Safety and Quality in Health Care was formed in 2000 and became the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality and Safety in 2006. In NSW a major inquiry by Mr Brett Walker SC recommended the formation of the Clinical Excellence Commission in 2004. These two commissions have led a dramatic culture change across the country and beyond. Hand hygiene, safe use of blood products, medication safety, recognition and management of the deteriorating patient, prevention of central line associated bacteraemia are just some of the success stories we will quantify in this presentation.
Above all else we can assert that the Australian Healthcare system is one that has reacted to issues raised and now proactively focuses on improvement rather than simply and often erroneously look to “blame and shame”.