WDHB pledges support for Open for Better Care patient safety campaign

4 June 2013

The recently launched Open for Better Care campaign aimed at saving lives and reducing harm in hospitals nationwide, is gaining momentum as DHB staff throughout the Central Region turn their attention to what they can do to improve patient safety in their wards and departments.
Wearing her national clinical lead hat for the falls campaign, WDHB director of nursing Sandy Blake has been intimately involved with the thinking behind Open for Better Care and the determination that it will bring about positive results for patients and health staff alike.
Mrs Blake says to quote Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew, the campaign challenges health care workers to be open to acknowledging mistakes and learning from them, open to working closely with patients and consumers, and open to change, improvement and innovation. Coordinated by the Health Quality & Safety Commission and implemented locally by district health boards and other health providers, Open for Better Care will run until mid-2015.
“While every DHB has people with extensive knowledge, skills and commitment who are already working together to deliver excellent patient care, we know patients across New Zealand hospitals are still being harmed, and sometimes with serious and long-term consequences,” Mrs Blake says.

“This harm often has a devastating impact on patients and their families and also the staff involved who feel distressed for their patients.”
Mrs Patterson said apart from the impact on patients and families, the additional financial cost of patient harm to our health system is a concern that can’t be ignored.
Open for Better Care  focuses on falls, surgery, healthcare associated infections and medication safety - the four key areas where evidence shows it’s possible to reduce patient harm. Each topic will be rolled out sequentially, with falls being the first area of focus.
Quality and Safety markers developed by the commission in consultation with clinicians, will be used to measure the campaign’s impact. The first regular progress report on the markers was set to be published this month.

Front row from left: WDHB chief executive Julie Patterson and WDHB chair Kate Joblin.
Back row from left: WDHB director of nursing Sandy Blake, general manager service and business planning, and nurse manager public health, community nursing and rural Lucy Dunlop.