The recent Four Corners television episode “Health Hazard” exposed catastrophic failures in Australia’s health care system, particularly in regional and rural hospitals where patients have died or been permanently disabled due to medical mistakes.
The TV report by Louise Milligan, which aired 9th September 2019 on the ABC, revealed under-resourced regional hospitals with staff run off their feet and grave concerns for clinical governance and patient safety.
“I spoke to the general manager, I said that I was concerned about the culture in the department, that staff weren't listening, and I felt that if we didn't try and change this culture, there could be a catastrophic event.” - Max McLean (Former Nursing Manager, Broken Hill Base Hospital)
The alarming statistics and heartbreaking stories revealed in this program leave many of us wanting to know what is being done to fix the problem.
“The one thing we can do, if we can't have more people and more resources, is to try and look at how we do it and put in place exacting protocols and check lists and drill people in these, and support each other, and say speak up when you see something that isn't what it should be." - Dr Gabriel Khouri (General Practitioner Anesthetist, former Director of Critical Care, Bega Hospital)
Attending to the workplace culture should be a regular part of every organisation’s risk management plan. Regional hospitals in Australia can start by undertaking a workplace cultural review, which is a proactive process designed to understand the values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours shared by the staff. This information can be the catalyst for change.
When structural or cultural change is needed in a high-pressure workplace such as a hospital or an emergency department, this can be very challenging for leadership and all members of staff. Doing nothing can have severe consequences and is not an option.
WorkPlacePLUS has a team of HR consultants who are experienced at facilitating cultural reviews, strategic planning and organisational change in hospitals and healthcare settings. For more information, please contact us today.