Health quality & safety commission (HQSC)

HQSC logo

The Health Quality & Safety Commission (the Commission) was established in November 2010 in response to concern that only modest improvements in health quality and safety had been achieved at a national level over previous years.

New Zealand Triple AimThe Commission’s role is to lead and coordinate work across the health and disability sector to monitor, support, promote and improve the quality and safety of services across the sector.  It’s vision is for New Zealand to have a world-class and patient-centered health care and disability support system supporting the New Zealand Triple Aim of:

  • improved quality, safety and experience of care
  • improved health and equity for all populations
  • best value for public health system resources


'Open for better care' campaign

The Commission is leading and coordinating a national patient safety campaign with the theme ‘Open for better care focusing on reducing harm in four priority areas.

  1. Falls
  2. Healthcare associated infections
  3. Perioperative harm (surgery)
  4. Medication safety

'Open for better care' logoA set of quality and safety markers has been developed to measure the campaign’s impact.  Results of process markers for each of the priority areas are reported for each DHB against a threshold of expected performance.  The markers set the following thresholds for DHBs:

  • 90 percent of older patients are given a falls risk assessment
  • 75 percent compliance with good hand hygiene practice
  • all three parts of the WHO surgical safety checklist used in 90 percent of operations
  • 100 percent of primary hip and knee replacement patients receiving prophylactic antibiotics 0-60 minutes before incision
  • 95 percent of hip and knee replacement patients receiving 2g or more of cefazolin
  • 100 percent of primary hip and knee replacement patients having appropriate skin antisepsis in surgery using alcohol/chlorhexidine or alcohol/povidone iodine
  • Implementation of electronic medicines reconciliation (eMR)

The results for each marker were first publicly reported by the Commission on 27 June 2013 [view results on quality and safety markers].

Waitemata DHB quality & safety marker results

Our results overall for quarter 2 (Apr-Jun) of 2016 were great - we achieved above all of the thresholds currently tracked by HQSC:

Waitemata DHB Quality & Safety Marker results for quarter 2 of 2015/2016

Our results for each of the market sets over time is as follows: 


HQSC Markers for Falls

Health care associated infections

HQSC Markers for Health Care Associated Infections - Hand Hygiene

HQSC Markers for Health Care Associated Infections - CLAB

HQSC Markers for Health Care Associated Infections - SSI

HQSC Markers for Health Care Associated Infections - SSI Rate

Note: The CLAB marker was retired by HQSC in December 2014, however we will continue to report on this marker.

  1. Central Line Associated Bacteraemia (CLAB)

Perioperative care

HQSC Markers for Perioperative Care - Surgical Safety

Note: These markers were retired by HQSC from quarter 3 of 2015 and new markers will be developed for quarter 3 2016.

Medication safety

A medication safety marker was introduced in September 2014 focusing on medicines reconciliation – a process by which health care professionals ensure all medicines a patient is taking and their adverse reaction history are accurately documented and the information used across the health care continuum. An accurate medicine list allows it to be reviewed to ensure they are appropriate and safe and to document which should be continued, stopped or temporarily stopped. Doing this reduces the risk of medicines with potentially dangerous interactions being prescribed.

A key first step to allow medication reconciliation to be done routinely and in a more straightforward manner is the introduction of an electronic system, known as electronic medication reconciliation (eMR). There is a national programme to roll out eMR throughout the country.

Find out more about eMR implementation for Waitemata DHB.