THE Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service has responded to media reports of 33 internal investigations into serious clinical incidents in the past three years at Rockhampton Hospital.
CQHHS chief executive Len Richards says CQHHS has been very open about the need for reform to improve the safety and quality systems across Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service.
The Courier-Mail has reported that of those internal investigations, 18 involved patient deaths.
The News Ltd Brisbane-based newspaper obtained documents under Right to Information laws which revealed a patient escaped serious harm after an object was left inside them.
"(It is) our goal is to build a hospital and health service that is the benchmark for patient safety in Queensland," Mr Richards said.
"We must acknowledge our mistakes, and it is vitally important that we learn from those mistakes and make changes to ensure they do not happen again.
"That commitment is setting us on the path to become a great public hospital service for the community who rely on us.
"We have instigated several initiatives that reaffirm patient safety at the top of our agenda. A new position, Executive Director of Quality and Safety, was created in January this year.
"Our Hospital Services Management Board - Quality meets every month, to bring a greater focus on the quality of health services we provide. A sub-committee of the Hospital and Health Board is also focused on quality.
"A Speaking up for Safety campaign was initiated. This has involved meetings with clinical groups, including senior clinicians who are at the coal-face of service delivery, to discuss ways of improving patient safety.
"The campaign also encourages all staff to identify any issues they encounter on the floor or to make any suggestion they believe will improve patient safety.
"This campaign has a single but ambitious goal - to eliminate avoidable patient harm.
"We have also started clinical governance half days, where all non-essential clinical services are put on hold one afternoon a month so clinical staff across the hospital and health service have access to meetings, training and development to enhance their skills and
improve patient safety.
"We have a team of professional, highly skilled and dedicated healthcare workers who do great things here every day. We are now working very hard to build the systems and environment they we need to excel and do exactly what they aim for - changing lives for the better."