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Posted on 21 Sep 2022

We’ve all been in a bit of a time warp through this pandemic, where days merged into each other and months seemed like years, we’re all finding it difficult to keep track of what happened and when. I’m no different. I do know however that I recently celebrated my one year anniversary as CEO of Safer Care Victoria!

Before joining SCV, I was the Managing Director of UCLPartners Academic Health Science System in the UK, and a practicing Respiratory Physician overseeing a virtual COVID ward in the community. I have a long track record of respiratory and general medical care in an acute setting having worked for Barts Health for over 20 years. My main interests have been in airways disease and as such, I was the Director of the National Asthma and COPD audit program for some 21 years. Over time, we realised that reporting data in various formats including benchmarking, league tables and funnel charts, did little to change practice even when aligned to guideline standards. In the last 5 years of the program, we began to deliver a national improvement program aligned to the data and only then did we really see shifts in clinical practice.

We have seen something similar at SCV where we have reported harm and death from a variety of sources for years with repeated themes that shift little year on year but with one big exception. That was in maternity where an improvement program linked to still birth and perineal tear data and thematic learning from those reported incidents led to an improvement program across Victoria. As a result, we have seen an over 20 per cent reduction in stillbirths and a greater than 40 per cent reduction in perineal tears. The learning is that if we link thematic learning from safety data to an action plan using improvement methodology as a tool for change, we can empower clinicians, managers and consumers working together to make real change in the system. 

This is the approach we are now taking here at SCV and we want as many clinicians, managers and consumers as possible to join with us. Our aspiration is that every health service in Victoria will make safety a priority and use improvement to provide higher quality services that prevent harm from happening where that is at all possible. We have a number of key programs running this year including the 100,000 Lives program, which aims to improve healthcare outcomes for at least 100, 000 Victorians by 2026 through 12 small and large scale partnerships, including the Post Partum Haemmorhage Collaborative and the Heart Failure Collaborative. This program is being run under the guidance and in partnership with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. We also have our new Improving Childhood Asthma Management initiative with the Department of Health working with children in Melbourne’s inner west who have the worst asthma rates in the country. And there is more our reducing unnecessary antibiotic prescribing in children program, reducing low value interventions such as tonsillectomy, and the list goes on but all add up to improving the health of 100,000 Victorians!

But that’s not all. We have a major improvement program in mental health reducing restrictive practices, reducing self harm and suicide attempts and gender based violence for inpatients. Such crucial areas of work and an opportunity to learn from each other. Please come and join with us as this needs to happen across the state. Consumers should have the same excellent experience of care regardless of which service they are referred or admitted to.

Its not just our consumers that we are supporting but also our health care staff through our healthcare worker wellbeing program. We recognise healthcare workers continue to experience the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) professionally and personally and the strains that frustrations of the system have loaded onto patients, carers and families. We are wholeheartedly committed to continuing our support of workforce mental health and wellbeing through the healthcare worker wellbeing program, which is open to all who work in the health system primary, community and hospital staff, clinical and non clinical.

There is so much more I would like to tell you about but only so much that I can put into one message! Most importantly I’d like to thank all the clinicians, consumers and health services who are working with us now and in the future. I’ve been lucky to meet some of you over the past 12 months and I’m really excited to be working with all of you in the months and years ahead to ensure every Victorian has access to safe, high quality health care.

Page last updated: 21 Sep 2022