Hospital complications cost $ 5 billion per year & # 39;

"Virtually every significant hospital safety failure in recent decades … has happened in a hospital that has passed accreditation with flying colors."

Abscesses, infections, side effects of drugs, electrolyte disorders and injuries are just some of the following: the complications in patients in Australian hospitals.

In the most extreme cases, the results can be fatal – such as when a newborn baby died in Sydney Bankstown Hospital last year after he mistakenly received a laughing gas in a neonatal instead of oxygen unit

M. Duckett, the director of the health program at the Grattan Institute, said the Australian "one size fits all" hospital accreditation system should be upgraded with measurable safety results tailored to the unique circumstances of each hospital.

"At present, these have centrally defined standards that apply to every hospital in the country, but the sophistication and need of a large academic hospital. A small rural hospital is so totally different," he said.

In the report, randomized monitoring was recommended instead of once a year, so that hospital administrators could fill in their facilities in advance & # 39 ;.

"Instead, surveyors would carry out safety tests without prior notice," it said.

"And for the first time, patients and taxpayers would have access to detailed accreditation reports on all hospitals so that Australians could address their governments on the quality and safety of hospital care."

M. Duckett said publicizing the data in hospitals would result in raising their game to avoid "embarrassment".

The approach recommended by the Grattan Institute will receive support from health insurers including Australia's largest, Medibank, who has been informed about the report.

Medibank's chief medical officer, Linda Swan, said the insurer "welcomes all steps to improve access of consumers and health professionals to information and support better health care choices."

"Hospitals, specialists and insurers must work together to ensure greater transparency in the health system to improve patient outcomes, "Dr Swan said. A spokeswoman for the federal health minister, Greg Hunt, said Australian hospitals were "among the best in the world" and "had a very good record of safety and quality".

The state and federal health ministers decided earlier this month at a COAG meeting to "create a data and reporting environment that increases patient choice through increased public disclosure of hospital performance and information clinician ".

All changes are managed by the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare, which currently publishes limited comparison data on the hospitals website.

The Grattan report found that public hospitals spend around $ 4 billion a year on patient complications, while private hospitals spend $ 1 billion.

Improvements that save 1.5 billion dollars each year would free up beds and resources. so another 300,000 patients can be treated, the report said.

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