Press Release

Minister welcomes Madden report on patient safety as roadmap to drive improvements in patient care

The Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney TD today (Thursday 7th August 2008) welcomed the report of the Commission on Patient Safety and Quality Assurance entitled “Building a culture of patient safety”.

The Minster said “This is the first report of its kind and it makes far reaching recommendations which when implemented will impact very positively on patients and their families.”

“The Commission which was established in January 2007 sets out a clear and comprehensive road map for driving improvements in safety and quality across our health service.”

“Perhaps the most significant recommendation of the report is the introduction of a licensing system for all health services whether they are delivered publicly or privately. The current system whereby anybody can open a hospital for example, does not adequately offer patients the protection they need and deserve.”

While accepting that the health system will always be open to the possibility of human error, the Minister said that “All of us working in the delivery of health care must make every effort to minimise error and maximise quality. A blame free reporting and management culture is undoubtedly in the best interests of patients.”

“I very much welcome the finding of the Commission that the absence of accountability arrangements such as quality assurance, clinical audit, measurement and monitoring which involve professionals, especially doctors, limits the extent to which patients can be protected. Recent patient safety incidents can be attributed in large part to this. I therefore also welcome the many recommendation they have made to address this situation.”

“Recent years have seen great improvements in our health system. Life expectancy, survival from cancer, mortality from heart disease and many other measures have seen improvements which are greater than many other countries. What I now want to see is that we show similar improvements in the safety and quality of the services we provide.”

“I want to see a system wide, nationwide patient-proofed health service that can be monitored and measured. This will ensure that we move from pockets of best practice to a situation where patients throughout the country can benefit from the same high standard of quality and safety.”

“One of the most common complaints I hear from patients and their families is the difficulty they encounter in getting information. This report advocates open communication and I very much support the enhanced and meaningful involvement of patients and their families.”

The Minister will now consider all the recommendations in the report with a view to bringing it to Government next month.

The report is available for download here