Manitoba issues new patient safety framework

Sharon BladyWINNIPEG – The Manitoba government is launching an updated, five-year framework to guide work and further enhance patient safety across the province, Health Minister Sharon Blady (pictured) announced in October. The announcement coincided with the start of Patient Safety Week.

“While front-line healthcare providers across Manitoba are working hard to make patient care as safe as possible, even one injury is one too many,” said Blady. “Our number one priority is to ensure the best healthcare possible and to prevent these injuries from happening.”

The minister said the Manitoba Patient Safety Framework (2015) includes a vision for a safe, high-quality healthcare system and will support the individuals involved in the care process, especially those who work on the front lines, as well as patients, as they identify and report incidents and potential risks. Work will be undertaken in five key areas including:
• supporting a client-centred focus including enhancing patient and family-centred care;
• enhancing transparency and accountability, developing trust and open communication between healthcare providers, patients and the public, and public reporting of cases, performance and trends;
• improving governance and leadership, such as ensuring a visible commitment to patient safety at the highest levels and throughout the system;
• continuously improving clinical services, with targeted strategies to improve patient safety and the way care is delivered to reduce the risk of patients being harmed; and
• developing organizational cultures that support continuous learning and improving, rather than blaming.

“The release of this strategy is an important step forward for patient safety in Manitoba,” said Laurie Thompson, executive director, Manitoba Institute for Patient Safety. “It is a cue to action and will open up important dialogue among the public and healthcare providers about key factors that will improve patient safety.”

The minister noted key objectives of the framework include:
• developing formal processes for clients, staff and administrators to identify needed improvements;
• reporting publicly on patient safety indicators such as healthcare provider hand hygiene compliance rates;
• providing regular patient safety training to organizational boards, such as regional health authorities, to enhance leadership skills;
• undertaking additional work to implement evidence-based care to reduce patient safety risks;
• measuring successes in several areas including surgery, medication safety, infection prevention and control, and pressure ulcers; and
• identifying, reviewing and learning from reported patient safety incidents and sharing lessons learned to improve system planning.

The minister noted the updated framework builds on other work to enhance patient safety including:
• establishing the Manitoba Institute for Patient Safety in 2004, the only provincial institute of its kind in Canada with a mandate and mission to promote and enhance patient safety;
• introducing legislation in 2006 to make it mandatory to report critical incidents across the health system to support a culture of learning and openness, the second province to do so;
• introducing the Apology Act in 2008 to improve Manitoba’s patient safety culture by acknowledging and being accountable for harm that may occur as care is delivered;
• introducing the Regulated Health Professions Act in 2009 to ensure all health professions in Manitoba are governed by consistent, uniform regulations with an enhanced focus on patient safety and accountability; and
• establishing the Manitoba Quality and Patient Safety Council in 2013 to provide leadership for provincial health service quality and patient safety.

In addition, the province is also working with regional health authorities (RHAs) to further improve community involvement in the RHAs by supporting regions as they consult with area residents to develop and implement a declaration of patient values. The declaration will help regions establish a process for receiving and addressing patients concerns.

“We want to be sure regions are accountable to the people they serve,” said Minister Blady. “By clearly defining patient values, we can help ensure patients have a voice in the care they receive.”

For more information on patient safety in Manitoba, visit

Written by Editor

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