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Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care

Winter 2019 eNews

In this issue

National response to WHO Global Patient Safety Challenge

The Commission is developing a national response to the third WHO Global Patient Safety Challenge.

In 2017, Australia signed onto the third World Health Organization (WHO) Global Patient Safety Challenge: Medication without harm (the Challenge), with the goal of reducing medication errors, adverse drug events and medication-related hospital admissions by 50% by 2025.

The Commission is developing a national response to the Challenge. We are seeking input from health programs that address the three WHO flagship areas – inappropriate polypharmacy, high-risk medicines and transitions of care – which have been refined to align with the Australian context.

We are consulting with state and territory health departments, peak clinical bodies, primary and acute health service providers, and consumers to develop a collaborative approach to enhance consumer engagement with their medicines. Our response will address the role of electronic prescribing and medicines administration, healthcare data, technology and cultural change in patient safety.

Provide feedback on our draft discussion paper by 5 July 2019

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AURA 2019 renews focus on antimicrobial resistance

We received a substantial health-system wide response to the release in May of AURA 2019: Third Australian report on antimicrobial use and resistance in human health.

The most comprehensive report produced on Australian antimicrobial use and resistance trends, AURA 2019 is guiding the formulation of strategies in the fight against increasing antimicrobial resistances, driven by the overuse and misuse of antibiotics.

The report found that, in 2017, more than 10 million Australians had a least one antibiotic dispensed in the community, and more than 26.5 million prescriptions for antimicrobials were dispensed. Encouragingly, overall use of antibiotics in the community fell between 2015 and 2017 – the first decline in 20 years. However, some dangerous bacteria are growing increasingly resistant to common antibiotics.

The states and territories and the private sector continue to support the AURA National Coordination Unit at the Commission with the surveillance data needed to produce a viable surveillance system. The Australian Government and the states and territories provide funding contributions for the AURA Surveillance System.

See the full report and resources including information sheets for clinicians and consumers. To receive a USB copy, send your postal details to aura@safetyandquality.gov.au

Dr Kathryn Daveson, Clinical Director, AURA, at the May launch of AURA 2019

AURA 2019: the most comprehensive Australian report on antimicrobial use and resistance.

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AC NAPs helps improve antimicrobial use in aged care

The Aged Care National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey (AC NAPS) helps Australian aged care homes improve antibiotic use and the safety of their residents.

The annual survey monitors infections and assesses antimicrobial prescribing practices for people in residential aged care. Data are included in the Commission’s Antimicrobial Use and Resistance in Australia (AURA) Surveillance System.

AC NAPS can be undertaken on any single day between 1 June and 31 August 2019. All aged care homes and multi-purpose services are encouraged to take part. Participation helps identify areas where antimicrobial use for residents could be improved.

The new Aged Care Quality Standards require aged care services to demonstrate practices that promote appropriate antibiotic prescribing and use, to support optimal care and reduce the risk of increasing resistance to antibiotics.

Previous AC NAPS survey results, included in AURA 2019, identified the following areas for improvement in prescribing:

  • Poor documentation of the reason for prescribing antimicrobials
  • Prolonged duration of therapy
  • High use of topical antimicrobials.

Register for 2019 AC NAPS at support@naps.org.au, phone (03) 9342 9415 or visit the NAPS website.

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New infection control guidelines improve HAI management

Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are an important patient safety issue and can occur in any healthcare setting – from hospitals to general practice and ambulance services. Each year there are over 165,000 HAIs in Australian acute healthcare facilities, making them the most common complication for hospital patients.

The Commission and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) released the Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare (2019) in May 2019. The revised guidelines use new national and international evidence to strengthen the risk management approach to infection and prevention control established in the 2010 guidelines.

Key elements addressed in the updated guidelines include: the importance of a patient-centred approach, disinfection methods, antimicrobial resistance, replacement of peripheral intravenous catheters, use of chlorhexidine, immunisation for healthcare workers, Norovirus and use of hospital-grade disinfectants.

Read our joint media release.

The revised guidelines provide evidence-based recommendations.

Download the digital version of the new guidelines from MAGICapp.

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Coming soon: revised Charter of Healthcare Rights

The Commission has consulted widely over the past 12 months to develop a revised Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights (the Charter), which describes the rights of a patient when they access health care.

Due for release soon, the new Charter is user friendly and easy to understand. We are also producing practical resources to support use of the Charter, including posters, translations into 19 languages, and an AUSLAN video, braille version, and consumer and clinician fact sheets.

Find out more about our consultation process. Thanks to all who have provided input - and stay tuned for the new Charter!

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Improved usability was a key driver in the development of our new website.

New website to give better online user experience

From this week, visitors to our website will notice a difference.

We've designed a new site that brings all our information and resources from the Commission onto a single easily searchable site. It also reflects best practice UX for design and usability. 


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Cognitive impairment resources to implement NSQHSS

The Commission has reviewed its A better way to care resources, designed to help improve care of people with cognitive impairment. 

Four core resources recently released are:

  • NSQHS Standards User guide for health service organisations providing care for people with cognitive impairment or at risk of delirium
  • A better way to care - Actions for clinicians (2nd edition)
  • Cognitive Impairment - Actions for clinicians fact sheet
  • Key actions for health service organisations fact sheet

The user guide outlines the key actions in the NSQHS Standards (2nd ed.) that support safe and high quality care for patients with cognitive impairment or at risk of delirium. A better way to care follows a pathway, describing strategies that reflect evidence-based practice and existing models of care.

Our new resources will help improve care of people with cognitive impairment.

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The importance of identifying goals of care

Identifying goals of care is an essential element of providing care that aligns with the Comprehensive Care Standard. Goals help to organise and prioritise activities and improve quality of life and self-efficacy of patients.

To assist with identifying goals of care, a consumer and patient focussed tip sheet and a clinician tip sheet have been released to support implementation of the Comprehensive Care Standard.

The suite of comprehensive care resources continues to grow and are available on the Commission’s website. Resources for developing a comprehensive care plan are coming soon.

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Quick Bites - primary care, catheters and assessor course

National Standards road show for primary health care

The National Standards team has embarked on a national consultation road show, meeting with primary care providers and consumers in all states and territories about the development of National Safety and Quality Primary Health Care Standards (for non-GPs).  During July, workshops will be held in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania. Don’t miss out, register today.

Consultation for clinical care standard for catheters

Up to 50% of peripheral intravenous catheters (PIVCs) inserted in hospital patients require two or more attempts. The Commission is developing a draft Peripheral Venous Access Clinical Care Standard, based on the outcomes of a March roundtable in collaboration with a topic working group of clinicians and consumers. Public consultation opens from July. To be informed when the consultation period commences, email ccs@safetyandquality.gov.au

Upcoming NSQHS Standards Assessor Orientation Course

The next NSQHS Standards (2nd ed.) Orientation Course begins this week and runs until 31 December. Find out more about the eight NSQHS Standards and what assessors look for when they do accreditation assessments in health service organisations. Enrol in a certificate course to complete modules of your interest, or in a non-certificate course if you just want to browse the different topics.

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Working at the Commission

Want to work in a vibrant culture with people dedicated to protecting the public from harm and improving the quality of health service provision?

Visit the Commission's career page to find roles we are currently advertising.

Meet Bernadette Aliprandi-Costa...

Bernadette Aliprandi-Costa, Manager, Safety and Quality Improvement Systems and Intergovernmental Relations

What did you do before working at the Commission?

I worked in NSW Health for a large part of my career both clinically and in clinical research. I have led work programs to develop quality reporting frameworks, system and quality performance reporting programs, clinical quality registries, and approaches to infrastructure funding in the research and vocational educational and training sectors. In 2017, I completed my PhD in health outcomes research at the University of Sydney. My doctoral research focused on reporting hospital performance using evidence-based quality indicators captured through an acute coronary syndrome clinical quality registry.

What do you do now?

I am the Manager, Safety and Quality Improvement Systems and Intergovernmental Relations, currently leading the development and implementation of the National Clinical Trials Governance Framework – a key element of the Encouraging More Clinical Trials in Australia initiative, on behalf of the Australian Government Department of Health and all states and territories.

What do you love about your work?

It is highly motivating working within an organisation that leads national initiatives for an improving health system. I’ve been provided the opportunity to engage with stakeholders across the country to ensure the approach to implementation of the National Clinical Trials Governance Framework is feasible and effective. Until now, the conduct of clinical trials has been siloed within clinical departments. Accreditation of clinical trial services to the NSQHS Standards will require health service organisational strategic planning to deliver this important service. It has been encouraging to see the huge support for this approach from clinicians, hospitals administrators, governments and industry.

What’s something that someone outside the Commission may not know about us?

The Commission is leading the policy agenda in partnership with the Australian Government Department of Health on the National Strategy for Clinical Quality Registries. This work is led by Dr Robert Herkes, Catherine Katz and I, and provides a roadmap to develop mechanisms for national CQRs that provide real-time clinical and administrative data to patients, consumers, clinicians, hospital administrators and governments for continuous quality improvement.

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t: 02 9126 3000
e: mail@safetyandquality.gov.au