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This was an innovation project supported by the Better Care Victoria Innovation Fund.

Lead organisation

South West Healthcare


  • Western District Health Service
  • Colac Area Health
  • Portland District Health


Medication is the most common treatment used in healthcare. Although appropriate use of medication contributes to significant improvements in health, medication can also be associated with patient harm. 

Because it is so commonly used, medication is associated with a higher likelihood of errors and negative patient outcomes than other healthcare interventions. 

Up to 50 per cent of these negative patient outcomes are potentially avoidable. Standardising and systemising processes can help prevent medication incidents and improve medication safety. 

The Central pharmacy project was led by four health services that had hospitals with dedicated on-site pharmacy departments and involved eight smaller health services that had no pharmacy resources. 

A clinical governance model was developed that included all 12 health services with the goal of improving patient safety and quality of care and increase access to pharmacy services in southwest Victoria.


Design a regional pharmacy governance system to identify best practice in medication management and administration in order to improve patient safety.


  • Designed a regional governance framework that was incorporated into a health agreement signed by the board chairs of all 12 health services
  • Identified medication safety gaps in participating health services
  • Piloted a smart pump system that was able to improve medication management and safety
  • Trialled a ward box process that demonstrated potential to reduce costs and streamline medication ordering for health services with no pharmacy resources


December 2020 – While the project was unable to secure funding to officially implement the framework, elements of the project have been sustained. For example, South West Healthcare continues to provide periodic continuous quality improvement reports and manage the smart pump dataset for Moyne Health Services, and Colac Area Health still supports the ward box process at Timboon and District Healthcare Service.

Project summary

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