July 27, 2020

Safe: Our commitment to our patients and each other

Over the next three weeks, our stories will explain our new values safe, kind, together and how they relate to everything we do.

These values reflect not only how we do our daily work, but also how we treat each other.

Dr John Ferguson, Chief Medical officer explained the value safe shows our commitment to safe, reliable patient care.

“Our commitment to safe in a clinical setting means we have an overriding commitment to providing best practice care that avoids risk and embraces mutual trust and cultural comfort”, Dr Ferguson said.

Dr Ferguson added that safe means our staff are empowered to speak out if a situation is not safe.

“It doesn’t matter what role you have in the organisation,” he added.

“Northern Health continuously works to reduce the risk to our patients and decrease errors with a “first, do no harm” approach. Although as clinicians we often have to do things quickly – we need to take time to have that final check.”

The value safe also includes cultural and workplace safety.

Michelle Fenwick, Executive Director People and Culture explained that in every family, organisation, community and alike, one of the things people are attracted to is the feeling they are safe and part of something.

“Feeling safe is about feeling safe in your community or workplace to voice your issues, to celebrate, to put your hand up if you question something or don’t know something,” she said.

Safety in a workplace also means the voice of our staff has value and our staff has a contribution to make.

“That is something that has been reflected in our People Matter Survey. Staff who feel safe feel free to question more, learn more and feel supported,” she added.

Around 70 per cent of our staff lives in the northern community and Northern Health is not just a workplace, but their local health service too.

“The staff not only feel safe working here, but also feel safe to come here and bring family and friends for treatment,” she said.

Cultural safety is another aspect of the value safe. It is about feeling welcomed and accepted at a workplace and feeling safe to ask about different work arrangement if needed.

“Our staff feels safe to ask about flexible work options for family or health reasons or caring for family or elderly. Diversity is something to be applauded and to learn from and the diversity and cultural richness of our staff is a reflection of our community,” Michelle explained.