How ‘speaking up’ makes patients safer


Ramsay Health Care's new patient safety program will be rolled out internationally following successful implementation at its facilities across Australia.

Launched in September 2019, 'Speak Up For Patient Safety' is now in place at more than 70 hospitals, day surgeries and clinics, making Ramsay the first private hospital group in the country to achieve such an initiative.

It aims to build a culture of safety, empowering Ramsay's 40,000 staff members to raise concerns if they notice potentially risky behaviour.

"We have been working really hard over the past four years to lead the way on this important patient safety initiative," Ramsay Australia’s Chief Risk Officer Chanelle McEnallay said.

"When a patient comes to one of our facilities for healthcare treatment, we want to ensure they have the best possible outcome – and their safety is the most important aspect of that," she added.

The program is based on the work of Vanderbilt University Medical Centre in the USA and the Cognitive Institute in Australia.

"Patient-facing staff have been trained on how to speak up when they want to call out potentially risky behaviour, which increases the chance that small mistakes are picked up and discussed in real-time," Ms McEnallay said.

The program, which features a peer-to-peer support model that allows professionals to self-regulate, will also be used at Ramsay facilities in the United Kingdom, Malaysia and Indonesia.

"Through this roll-out, we discovered staff did not always realise the impact certain behaviours can have on safety – for example, being late to the operating theatre," Ms McEnallay said.

"The feedback from doctors and clinicians has also been extremely positive. They are encouraged by the program and feel supported to speak up. There’s a real groundswell of enthusiasm around speaking up and getting the message going."

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