May 10, 2019

Patient Safety Walk Arounds – Helping make us safer

As many of you will be aware, last year we reintroduced Executive Patient Safety Walk Arounds. You may wonder what they are and why we do them.

Executive Patient Safety Walk Arounds are designed to link the Executive directly to patient safety concerns in the clinical environment.

This is a great chance to hear from our staff and managers about what needs to improve.

These Walk Arounds are conducted once a month, by selecting similar wards or clinical departments at several of these sites simultaneously. The Chief Executive together with the entire Executive team, visit selected areas to become familiar with their issues and risks they identify as needing to be addressed.

Importantly, the Walk Arounds create an opportunity for staff to discuss patient safety issues of concern with the highest level of management, and escalate and action opportunities for increasing staff, patient and visitor satisfaction and safety. They are also an opportunity for our staff to identify ways to improve their work.

Through Patient Safety Walk Arounds, we’ve been able to make a number of changes that have resulted in real impact.

We have ordered computers on wheels to support the timely delivery of care, based on the feedback from Unit 1 and Observation Unit. From Broadmeadows and Day Surgery feedback, we have ordered new observation machines and a two-year capital request plan is in place to support the purchase of additional machines across the organisation.

We are also improving the patient experience by updating patient lounge areas after visits through SSU, CHS, Unit B and Cardiology EPSWA.

As an organisation, we understand that both our staff and patients need a clear space, as clutter can make areas look messy and difficult for patients and staff to move around. That is why we’ve taken a number of actions to reduce clutter.

Some of these actions include relocation of equipment, rationalisation of storage rooms and infection prevention consultation – to ensure equipment and consumables are stored correctly. This initiative has supported timely delivery of care by decreasing the time lost in searching for items.

Also, a new electronic screen is being installed which will help family members track movement of their loved ones through the Day Procedure Centre.

You can see that this is a real opportunity for us to take action and ensure we are a safer health service for our patients – whilst improving the patient experience.

There’s strong commitment from the Executive – but the immediate needs of patients is our number one priority. At a recent Patient Safety Walk Around at 5.30 am, one of our Executives, Bill Shearer, who also happens to be an Anaesthetist, left the Walk Around to assist in an emergency caesarean section!

Another way we listen to your ideas is through the People Matter Survey, which begins Monday, 13 May. I would like to strongly encourage you to participate and see your ideas brought to life. As in previous years, all answers are anonymous.

To find out more about the survey, see Michelle Fenwick’s guest column.

Jane Poxon

Acting Chief Executive