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NZMA welcomes Ministry of Health serious and sentinel events report
17 November 2010
The New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) welcomes the release today of the Ministry of Health’s (MOHs) 2009-10 serious and sentinel events report, which outlines 374 cases of serious and sentinel events reported in the past year.
Falls (34%) and clinical management problems (33%) were the two most commonly reported events included in the report. These were also reported as the most common events in the 2008-2009 year.
NZMA Deputy Chair, Dr Paul Ockelford, said it was unclear whether the number of falls had actually increased, or if an increased awareness had resulted in larger numbers of events being reported. The long term benefits of transparency and event reporting is to determine if there are systemic issues which need to be addressed. “DHBs and hospitals may need to look carefully at what improvements can be made to their processes surrounding the prevention of patient falls.”
Dr Ockelford was pleased with the results of the report overall, and said the events represented a tiny fraction of the total number of patient management episodes within our hospitals. “It is important to remember that, above all, New Zealand has an excellent health system by international standards. Preventable incidents, such as those outlined by the MOH’s report, occur to only a very small number of patients, but we must continue to work to improve patient safety.”
The NZMA also welcomes the potential inclusion of the Primary Health Care sector in future MOH reports.