Reportable Events

What is a Reportable Event?
This is any adverse event classified as a SAC 1 or SAC 2 rating.

What is an adverse event?
This is an incident which results in harm or death to a consumer (or patient).

What is a SAC 1 or SAC 2 rating?
The Severity Assessment Code (SAC) is a numerical rating which defines the severity of an adverse event and as a consequence the required level of reporting and investigation to be undertaken for the event.

What is a near miss incident?
This is an incident which under different circumstances could have caused harm to a consumer but did not, and which is indistinguishable from an adverse event in all but the outcome.

How are the events reported?
St John and Wellington Free Ambulance report adverse events and near misses for each quarter to the Ministry of Health and ACC in accordance with the New Zealand Health and Disability Services – National Reportable Events Policy 2012. The definitions provided above are referenced from this policy document.

The National Ambulance Sector Office (NASO) sends the reports to HQSC on behalf of the Ministry of Health and ACC.

What does the summary of reportable events contain?
The summary contains reportable events and near misses for St John and Wellington Free Ambulance (WFA) where an investigation has been completed. Patient details have been removed to preserve patient confidentiality. Some actions may have been implemented (at the time of reporting) while other actions are yet to be implemented.

How does the number of events compare to the overall service delivered?
Each quarter approximately 100,000 111 calls are received. Of these, the Ambulance Communication Centre dispatch to around 70,000 emergency incidents. Compared to these volumes the number of reportable events that occur is very low.

Encouraging a culture of safety
At times call takers, dispatchers and paramedics work under very demanding circumstances to deliver a high level of care. The vast majority of callers and patients receive an excellent service however occasionally an event occurs that could have been avoided.

Providers encourage their staff to report and log these events. Lessons are learnt and actions are implemented to prevent the event occurring again. The reports contribute to a culture of safety, transparency and continuous improvement. Increased reporting reflects a willingness to learn from events and to improve the quality and safety of services.

Where can I get more information?
Information about reportable events can be found on the NASO website at the Health Quality and Safety Commission website

Where can I get specific information about a reportable event?
For more information regarding a specific event contact St John or Wellington Free Ambulance.

When will the summaries be available on the NASO website?
We aim to put these reports up three months after the end of each quarter.

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