News release

Act Supports Efforts to Improve Patient Safety

New reporting requirements introduced today, May 3, will help make patient care better and safer for Nova Scotians.

The Improving Patient Safety and Health System Accountability Act will require district health authorities and the IWK Health Centre to report publicly and to the Department of Health and Wellness on a number of patient safety indicators beginning with the hand hygiene adherence rates. Other indicators, including rates of infections will be added in the future.

"This act will support and strengthen our efforts to improve patient safety by providing greater public accountability to the patients who rely on our health-care system for safe care," said Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald.
"Patient safety is about managing and reducing risks to ensure that the care patients receive is as safe as possible. Hand hygiene adherence rates will be our first priority under the act because it is considered by many experts to be one of the best ways to measure patient safety overall."

Although district health authorities and the IWK monitor and report on many patient safety indicators, they are not always reported publicly or to the Department of Health and Wellness, and may not be reported the same way.

The Department of Health and Wellness will work with the districts and the IWK to develop consistent collection methods and reporting processes to ensure information can be compared across the province. The legislation is an important step towards developing a provincial surveillance program that will track and monitor key infection rates and other patient safety indicators.

"Our health-care providers are committed to providing the safest care possible to patients. This legislation will let the public know how well we're performing and allow us to better monitor rates over time, track improvements and develop strategies to address areas of concern," said Dr. Peter Vaughan, vice president of Medicine for South Shore Health, member of the province's Quality and Patient Safety Advisory Committee and current chair of Accreditation Canada's Board of Directors.

Nova Scotia is the second province in Canada to take a strong legislated position requiring patient care indicators to be reported publicly. Ontario introduced similar reporting requirements in 2008.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Legislation introduced today (May 3rd) will help make patient care safer for Nova Scotians.

Under the proposed legislation, district health authorities and the IWK Health Centre will be required to report publicly and to the Department of Health and Wellness on a number of patient safety indicators.

Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald says the act will provide greater public accountability to the patients who rely on the health-care system for safe care.

Hand hygiene adherence rates will be the first patient safety indicators reported under the act.

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Media Contact:

Theresa Hawkesworth
Health and Wellness 902-424-6883 Cell: 902-719-5004 E-mail: