Australian-first program boosts safety for private hospital patients

Jan 22, 2020

Ramsay Health Care is Australia’s first private hospital group to fully implement a nation-wide program designed to deliver safer care for patients.

Speak Up For Patient Safety is a professional accountability program aimed at building a culture of safety, by empowering staff to raise concerns if they notice potentially risky behaviour.

Approximately 40,000 Ramsay staff have been trained in how to speak up ‘in the moment’ at more than 70 facilities including hospitals, day surgeries and clinics across Australia.

Ramsay Australia’s Chief Risk Officer, Chanelle McEnallay, said Speak Up For Patient Safety is helping Ramsay to achieve the highest levels of patient safety and reliability.

"We have been working really hard over the past four years to lead the way on this important patient safety initiative," Ms McEnallay said.

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

Speak Up For Patient Safety’s sustainable framework is proven to address unprofessional behaviour and 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."

There is also a peer-to-peer support model which delivers feedback and provides the opportunity for professionals to self-regulate.

"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."

Following the successful implementation of Speak Up For Patient Safety in Australia, Ramsay Health Care is rolling out the program in the United Kingdom, Malaysia and Indonesia.