Australian Health Ministers Agree on New Safety and Quality Measures

All Australian Health Ministers have agreed to establish new arrangements for national improvements in the safety and quality of health care.

Page last updated: 28 July 2005

28 July 2005

Joint Communique

All Australian Health Ministers, meeting in Alice Springs today, have agreed to establish new arrangements for national improvements in the safety and quality of health care.

Ministers agreed that the Australian Council for Safety and Quality in Health Care, which was established in January 2000, will be succeeded by a national body called the
Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care which will report to Health Ministers and be closely linked to health departments and other government and non-government health bodies. This will help ensure a collaborative, coordinated and comprehensive approach to safety and quality improvement.

The Ministers agreed to establish the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care following consideration of a report to Health Ministers by an independent review team, led by the New Zealand Health and Disability Commissioner, Mr Ron Paterson. The report, National Arrangements for Safety and Quality of Health Care in Australia, reviewed the work of the Australian Council for Safety and Quality in Health Care, and examined the broad governance of health care safety and quality in Australia.

Ministers agreed with the Review finding that it was crucial that the state of safety and quality in the Australian health care system be regularly measured and reported publicly, and a new Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care would be charged with publishing a national report every two years. While attention on improving the safety of hospitals will be maintained, the Commission will have a broader focus on quality improvement in primary care and the private sector.

Ministers agreed that the States, Territories and Australian Government have important ongoing roles in ensuring effective implementation and contributing to national data sets. They agreed to review arrangements to ensure safety and quality in their own jurisdictions.

Ministers paid tribute to the tireless efforts of Professor Bruce Barraclough, who has steered the Council since its inception, and the significant achievements made by Council over the last 5 years.

The new Commission will build on the achievements of Council and a seamless transition to new arrangements will ensure this valuable work is not lost.

The review report is available on the Review website at www.health.gov.au/safetyandqualityreview.

Media Contact: Richard O’Leary, Media Advisor for NT Minister for Health, Phone No: 08 8901 4118

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