Saturday, September 27, 2008

Parlous state of health in Queensland

Queensland Health is trumpeting the "Improved reporting on clinical incidents". They've gone from covering up incidents to increased reporting. Queensland Health is saying it's a good thing. Well, yes, it's good that these incidents are being reported, as long as action is taken to prevent incidents recurring.

“The findings of the report with an overall 30% growth in incident reporting suggest that there is a real culture change occurring, where staff are more willing to report problems with confidence they will be addressed,” he said.

“We can’t fix what we don’t know about.

“It is part of changing the culture of Queensland Health to one which seeks to learn
about and fix problems

“Of the total 46,990 clinical incidents reported by QH staff in 2006-7, 23% (10,800)resulted in actual patient harm.

“The majority (77%) concerned circumstances where patient harm did not occur,” he
Qld Health press release.

Forty-six thousand nine hundred and ninety. 46,990.

The drive radio announcer interviewed someone (sorry, can't remember who), and the interview had me shouting at the radio. The interviewee actually said "Well, with the number of procedures and so on, this number is quite small, and the number of cases were actual harm was done is really small compared to the number of cases dealth with in the system."

Could I just say it may be a small percentage of total cases processing through the system, however, if you are a person affected adversely by a "mistake" in the system it's not a small percentage, it's 100%.

A new report shows Queensland Health staff reported almost 47,000 cases of patient harm and "near misses' in the 2006-07 financial year.

The study shows 10,800 reported "clinical incidents" involving patient harm, while more than 100 patients died or were seriously injured. more from ABC

More from Courier Mail.

We do have a great health system in Australia, it exists and it does try to take care of everyone. It's failing. It needs more money, however this creates problems when the "cha-ching" factor causes all the costs to rise when another injection of funds occurs.

I really don't have the answers. But I know the system could be better.

And I know that in Australia we are very lucky to have a system where anyone can go to hospital and be taken care of.

1 comment:

bruce said...

Kae, a couple of years back the veins in my legs went troppo and for about a year I became a full time client of the NSW health system (in chronic pain). I had nurses visiting my home for 6 months, I had to attend a clinic at Blacktown hospital, and I had 2 operations which finally fixed the problem by removing all the veins, first in one leg then the other.

Every aspect of the treatment was just superb and when I think of it my heart just wells up with gratitude. I even did a nursing course last year to try to join what I now view as the noblest profession (haven't quite made it yet).

While any genuine failures should be rectified, and there will always be some, I think people expect too much, and the press drums up unwarranted hysteria. Rarely do the public hear the full story, perhaps because confidential personal info is involved.

Overall I would say people with University degrees are often unprepared for hospital reality, doctors and increasingly nurses. Older experienced nurses often hold the show together, watching patients, inexperienced doctors, and new university-trained nurses.

Insiders say the worst thing was when the Nurses Union demanded nursing degrees, taking training away from the workplace. But everyone is doing it around the world, so I suppose we have to.