It’s important for patients to receive safe, high quality care. Hospitals are monitored to ensure that they are providing patients with a quality service.
- reporting on serious adverse events – times when things have gone wrong and a patient has been harmed
- quality and safety markers to evaluate the success of the national patient safety campaign Open for Better Care
- auditing and certifying DHBs against the Health and Disability Services Safety Standards.
Serious adverse events
When things go wrong for a patient, it’s important to find out why so that the same thing doesn’t happen again.
The Health Quality and Safety Commission reports on serious adverse events – things that have resulted in a patient being harmed. They release a report every year on serious adverse events throughout New Zealand.
Quality and safety markers
HQSC also reports on quality and safety markers. These markers help HQSC evaluate the success of the national patient safety campaign Open for Better Care.
The markers concentrate on the four areas of harm covered by the campaign:
- health-care associated infections (hand hygiene, central line associated bacteraemia and surgical site infection)
- perioperative harm (complications during surgery)
- medication safety.
Certification against the Health and Disability Services Standards
District health boards (DHBs) participate in a range of internal and external monitoring programmes to ensure that patients receive a quality service.
The Ministry of Health certifies DHBs to ensure they:
- provide safe, appropriate care for patients
- meet the standards set out in the Health and Disability Services (Safety) Act 2001.
There are 6 main standards covering:
- Part 1: Our rights
- Part 2: Workforce and structure
- Part 3: Pathways to wellbeing
- Part 4: Person-centred and safe care
- Part 5: Infection Prevention and antimicrobial stewardship
- Part 6: Restraint and seclusion
What happens at a certification audit?
An audit is conducted by an auditing agency approved by the Ministry. The team of auditors spend up to a week visiting DHB hospitals and other services. The of auditors review documentation, interview patients and staff, and observe everyday practice.
A key part of the audit process is for the auditors to follow the journeys of randomly selected patients through their experience within the DHB hospital. This involves interviewing the patient and family, reviewing their records and interviewing staff from areas of the DHB who have provided services to the patient.
The auditors review aspects of service delivery against the relevant standards. If a DHB is not fully compliant with aspect of the standards, the DHB is required to make improvements. Any required improvements are noted in the auditors’ report to the Ministry. The Ministry then monitors the DHB to ensure that the improvements are made within required timeframes.
All DHBs are certified for 3 years. A surveillance audit occurs mid-way through the certification period to review service standards and to verify that the required improvements have been embedded in practice.
- Northland DHB surveillance audit summary – April 2021 (Word, 33 KB)
- Northland DHB certification audit summary – June 2019 (Word, 34 KB)
- Northland DHB audit summary – February 2018 (Word, 25 KB)
- Northland DHB audit summary – February 2015 (Word, 29 KB)
Audit summaries include:
- an overview of the DHB’s performance
- improvements required as a result of audit findings
A DHB may add its own comments in response to the audit findings.
More about certification
Find out more at Certification of health care services.