Minister Reilly officially opens 3rd National Patient Safety Conference

-   Susan Moss

The Minister for Health, Dr. James Reilly, T.D., today (Friday 24 May 2013) officially opened the 3rd National Patient Safety Conference in the Croke Park Conference Centre.

This Conference follows on from the launch of Patient Safety First at the first Patient Safety Conference in September 2010. It aims to promote the objectives of Patient Safety First, provide updates in relation to current developments and provide a forum for networking and interaction between key stakeholders in relation to the patient safety agenda. The programme includes international speakers, updates on patient safety initiatives and examples of local good practice.

The huge interest in the Conference is reflected in the number of registrations – over 350 – and the number of abstract papers submitted – 120 – and is concrete evidence that patient safety is foremost in the delivery of health and social services.

Speaking about the many examples of good practice in the area of patient safety presented at the Conference, the Minister commented, “Quality and safety are at the heart of health policy. The achievement of enhanced standards of patient care will result in a more effective and efficient health service leading to a reduction in overall costs.”

In conjunction with the Conference, the Minister announced the publication of resources developed by the Quality and Patient Safety Directorate of the Health Service Executive (HSE) on clinical governance and patient empowerment.

In order to improve and support clinical governance arrangements, the HSE is publishing three further supports for managers and clinicians. The three new guidance documents are part of a series with the tag line: “We are all responsible…and together we are creating a safer healthcare system”.

The Minister noted that, “Clinical governance and the quality and patient safety agenda are of critical importance at a time of transition in the HSE’s governance arrangements and at a time of major financial constraint.”

The Minister welcomed the HSE’s newly developed patient empowerment resource entitled: “It’s Safer To Ask”. This leaflet is aimed at patients and encourages patients to have a greater say in the decision making about their health care and to influence the quality and safety of health care across health services in Ireland.

At the conference, Dr Philip Crowley, the HSE’s National Director for Quality and Patient Safety, announced the publication of a new National Consent Policy. The policy has been developed by the National Consent Advisory Group, chaired by Dr Deirdre Madden, UCC.

Delegates at the Conference were also told of the development of a new initiative on quality and patient safety research in a collaboration between the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, the HSE and the Health Research Board (HRB). The collaboration will identify clear evidence-based quality and patient safety improvement strategies and interventions to underpin necessary changes in policy and practice.  

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