Tough New Laws Passed To Strengthen Hospital Safety

New Andrews Labor Government laws will ensure patients in public and private hospitals and cosmetic surgery facilities receive the same level of high quality and safe patient care.

The Health Legislation Amendment (Quality and Safety) Bill was passed in Parliament last night. It responds to recommendations from the Targeting Zero: supporting the Victorian hospital system to eliminate avoidable harm and strengthen quality of care report of the statewide review by Dr Stephen Duckett.

The review was commissioned by the Labor Government following the tragic discovery of a cluster of potentially avoidable newborn and stillborn deaths at Djerriwarrh Health Services.

Alongside action already being taken, these laws will strengthen health service quality and safety, aim to eliminate avoidable harm in hospitals for all Victorians and ensure continuous improvement is a key priority.

Our new laws will also ensure that all facilities where surgery takes place are regulated and provide safe health services at all times.

This means all public hospitals, private hospitals and cosmetic surgery facilities will be held to the same standards and reporting requirements because all patients deserve to be safe wherever they receive care.

These laws will limit public hospital board member tenures to nine years, require boards to have suitable skills, and provide an expanded suite of oversight and intervention powers for Government.

The regulation of patient safety and quality requirements within private hospitals will also be overhauled, with a range of new reporting requirements to allow us to identify and respond to any risks to patient safety early.

The Labor Government is investing nearly $215 million to strengthen quality and safety in Victorian hospitals, in response to the Targeting Zero report, including the establishment of new agencies such as Safer Care Victoria and the Victorian Agency for Health Information.

Safer Care Victoria, led by Professor Euan Wallace, is already taking action to monitor and improve quality and safety, identifying best practice ideas and initiatives and expanding them across the health system.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy

“These laws will drive down avoidable harm and ensure all Victorians get the high quality and safe care they need and deserve, when they need it.”

“We’re putting patient safety first and improving the standard of care for everyone – whether they are treated in a public or private hospital or receiving cosmetic surgery.”

“We’re closing a loophole that has allowed cosmetic surgery to take place in unregulated facilities to ensure patient safety is front and centre.”