Patient safety reforms published


A package of measures to improve patient safety have been published by Minister for Health Mary Harney.

They include 'Patient Safety First' - an initiative requiring healthcare organisations to sign up to show their commitment to patient safety.

The Minister also announced a national consultation on new healthcare standards by the Health Information and Quality Authority. It has published draft standards on its website and responses from the public are being sought over the next six weeks.

The standards will outline what is required for high quality, reliable, healthcare services and will describe what such a service should look like.

In a further initiative, Ms Harney announced arrangements for a national framework for clinical effectiveness. This will give a basis for the adoption of national guidelines for the treatment of diseases and illnesses to ensure consistency of treatment on a national level.

Also today, the Minister announced a new Patients' Charter as well as an online patient safety course for doctors.

Ms Harney said this was "a significant day" for patient safety and that improvements could only take place if everyone was prepared to work in an open and honest way that acknowledged failures and learned from them.

"Above all, patients want doctors, nurses and other health professionals to be open and honest with them about their health," she said.

"If something unplanned has happened to them, then they want to know about it."