22 November 2012:
The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) welcomes the 2011/12 Serious and Sentinel events report “Making our hospitals safer”.
The report contains the serious adverse events that have happened in hospitals over the past year. This year’s report shows that the largest categories of harm have occurred either as a result of a fall (47 percent) or from delays to treatment due to what is described as “breakdowns in hospital systems”.
NZNO professional nursing adviser, Kate Weston says, “Patient falls are an indicator of inadequate staffing levels. The pattern and frequency of harm from patient’s falling and “systems breakdowns” is attributable to a system that is not properly resourced to provide patients with the right care at the right time and in the right place.”
“NZNO believes the increase in inpatient suicides and patients “going missing’ from inpatient mental health units is likely a staffing issue as well. We support the commission’s intention to investigate this tragic issue further.”
“Inadequate staffing can also result in late monitoring of a patient’s vital signs. The results of this show in the report in cases where appropriate and timely treatment has not been provided and harm has occurred,” Weston says.
“NZNO is currently working in partnership with DHBS to solve that problem and make sure patients don’t come to harm. The safe staffing initiative, care capacity demand management (CCDM) ensures that the right number of skilled and appropriately qualified staff are available to provide care to meet patient demand and minimise the risk of harm.”
“We believe CCDM provides the health system with the right tools to provide the right care to patients. We are confident that future reports will show a marked decrease in falls, medication and treatment errors and “systems breakdowns” when all DHBs come on board with CCDM.”