Gaining better understanding of treatment injury

Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman

Minister of Health

15 December 2015

The Government is working to gain a full understanding of treatment injury to inform a range of initiatives to reduce treatment injury rates, say Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman and Minister for ACC Nikki Kaye.

“ACC’s treatment injury liability account is subject to a rising number of claims. It’s important from a clinical and financial point of view to understand why this is happening,” says Dr Coleman.

“We want to deliver better outcomes for patients. While rates of patient harm in New Zealand are comparable to other countries, we can further improve patient safety and reduce avoidable patient harm.

“ACC, Ministry of Health, Health Quality and Safety Commission (HQSC) and the Health and Disability Commissioner are working together to understand what is driving the increase and the interventions that are needed.”

Claims to ACC for treatment injuries are increasing at higher rates than other types of injury. Infections and adverse reactions are the most common types of treatment injury claim.

“ACC is committed to ongoing work towards understanding the cause of treatment injuries, and I can confirm that it has also signed off an investment of $15 million to $20 million over the next five years towards preventing treatment injuries,” says Ms Kaye.

“As part of this investment, ACC has begun working in partnership with the health sector to progress a number of initiatives, including:

  • funding surgical simulation training for operating theatre staff
  • developing a programme to reduce the number and severity of preventable birth injuries
  • establishing a programme to help reduce the prevalence of pressure injuries
  • extending HQSC’s surgical site infection programme.

“This morning I visited the Multidisciplinary Operating Room Simulation (MORSim) training programme based at the University of Auckland. This programme was piloted last year, and will be rolled out next year with funding support from ACC.

“It’s important that there’s good communication and teamwork between staff in the operating room, and this programme is aimed at improving teamwork and communication skills. An evaluation of the pilot programme showed this could translate to a 14 per cent reduction in treatment injuries.

“Injury prevention is an important part of ACC’s role. These initiatives to address treatment injuries are testament to how ACC is developing closer relationships with partners, and making better use of the analysis of injury data and evidence-based interventions to help reduce injuries in New Zealand.”

Media contacts
Kirsty Taylor-Doig (Hon Jonathan Coleman) 021 838 372
Glenn Donovan (Hon Nikki Kaye) 021 405 289



Last updated: Tuesday, December 15, 2015

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