chapter  15
14 Pages

Responding to patient harm: Patient safety initiatives in Australia

ByMERRILYN WALTON

While the publication of the Quality in Australian Health Care Study in the Medical Journal of Australia in 1995 1 was alarming news for many in the health care system, it only confi rmed what hundreds of patients had been experiencing over the previous two decades. Patients had been suffering and complaining about adverse events for years, and while their concerns were rarely acknowledged by the health care system, governments did respond to community concerns about inadequate redress for complaints by establishing complaint commissions; the fi rst was established in New South Wales in 1984, followed by Victoria in 1988. All states in Australia now have complaint commissions which receive and investigate and conciliate health care complaints, giving patients an alternative route to the more traditional and costly litigation route.