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Patient safety campaign to focus on surgery

Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew has launched the next phase of the national patient safety campaign Open for better care, which focuses on reducing harm associated with surgery.

“Over 300,000 publicly funded operations are performed in New Zealand each year, and while the majority are incident free there are occasions where patients do suffer harm,” says Mrs Goodhew.

The Open for better care campaign aims to reduce the risk of harm by highlighting the importance of having all three parts of the WHO surgical safety checklist used in at least 90 per cent of operations performed by DHBs.

“The checklist is a simple process that saves lives by ensuring crucial safety checks aren’t missed, as well as an important tool to improve communication and teamwork with surgical teams,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“International research suggests that the effective use of the checklist can reduce avoidable complications by at least 20 per cent. Such a reduction would save the health system around $5.7 million each year.

“Recent data shows nationally the checklist is being used 93 per cent of the time in DHBs, which is an improvement on the baseline result of 71 per cent reported in June last year. When you drill down into the data and look at individual DHBs the results are mixed, ranging from 98 per cent to 71 per cent.

“I commend the DHBs that are doing well in this area, and encourage those with room for improvement to reflect on their own practices.”

The Open for better care campaign will be focusing on reducing harm associated with surgery for the next six months. Further information about the campaign can be found at www.open.hqsc.govt.nz/surgery

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