AMA releases new statement on hospital safety practices

Date: Apr 10, 2013

The Australian Medical Association has released a new Position Statement on Quality and Safety in Hospital Practice for 2013.

The peak membership organisation for medical practitioners and students in Australia has set out its revised views on safety and quality in hospital practice.

It notes that in 2010-11 the Australian hospital system dealt with 8.9 million admissions, with 5.3 million of those happening at public hospitals, and 3.9 million in private hospitals.

In addition, the nation’s public hospitals are where the majority of medical training occurs.

The challenge of training new practitioners while providing care and treatment for all who are admitted is at the centre of the AMA’s statement.

“The clinical risks are unavoidably magnified by finite resources, the requirement to teach and train staff, and the obligation to accept all-comers,” the statement says.

The AMA says that in recent years there have been substantial improvements in anaesthesia management, and a decline in death rates due to heart attack, stroke and many cancers.

In general, the health system is in good shape, according to the AMA, delivering “a large number of cost-effective, high quality medical and health services”.

However, “avoidable errors” still occur and that is why ongoing improvements are still required in quality and safety practices.

The AMA makes a number of recommendations in its position statement, with the principal one being that clinician input is critical to hospital quality and safety.

“It is vital that clinicians are involved in the development, implementation and maintenance of these systems,” said AMA president Dr Steve Hambleton in a statement today (April 10).

Dr Hambleton said that the AMA is supportive of doctors partnering with hospital managers when it comes to clinical governance of safety and quality systems.

“Clinician involvement will help ensure that risks are analysed and reduced on a continuing basis to protect patients from harm.”

Anyone who believes that they have suffered an injury as a result of medical negligence in a hospital or while in the care of a medical practitioner may be entitled to make a claim for compensation.

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